Business owners fed up after shootings they blame on nightclub

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Bennie Carter is fed up with his new neighbor, The Renaissance on Madison Avenue.

Over the weekend, police say a group of men started fighting inside, left, and then started shooting guns.

A band member from Murphy’s across the street was loading instruments in his car when he was struck by one of the bullets.

Most business owners out here tell us shootings are nothing new for the event hall.

“(The Renaissance owner will) have security out here, bullet proof vests,” said Alan Resnick, who owns a smoke shop next door.

He said no other business on Madison has a need for that type of security.

The sign out front says the Renaissance specializes in parties, so it’s not really a nightclub.

Owner Ray White wouldn’t speak on camera but says balloons stuck in power lines outside the facility show the event where the shooting happened was a graduation party, not a gang throw down.

He said there are not many locations for African-Americans to have a function in Memphis and he tries to fill that need with family friendly events.

“Well, why does he require six or seven guards when he has functions? He knows what he’s getting into, he knows what danger he’s putting the public in. It’s not his place getting shot at, it’s ours,” said Bennie Carter, owner of Murphy’s, a bar across the street.

While there are bullet holes in the neighboring businesses, Mayor Wharton’s family law firm is right across the street. There are also the huge Overton Square improvements right down the road.

Business owners say they called the city and wrote the landlord.

But the owner of this smoke shop has just given up.

“My lease is up and I’m looking for another place,” said Resnick.

White plans an event next month with church pastors to help show his business is family-friendly and not connected with crime.


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