WREG investigates history of crime at Memphis club

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Police haven't made any arrests after four people were shot outside a strip club in Whitehaven.

Officers said two groups of men fired at each other in front of Pure Passion around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Two people are in critical condition, and two more suffered less serious wounds.

However, this is far from the first problem at the club. Pure Passion has been the site of numerous violent incidents, including a shooting in the parking lot last month in October.

The club is next to many businesses on E. Brooks Road.

WREG obtained records of complaints against the club from several years ago.

"I don't think any business that disrupts the community frequently needs to be there," said business owner Kelvin Rhyne.

Rhyne owns a sign shop across from Pure Passion.

"As a business owner you don't really want shootings everyday. It endangers me, my customers," he said.

His business operates at different hours from the club's busy time. However, he still has concerns.

"That's nerve-racking," he said.

The club has a history in the airport area.

"Issues opening up, closing down. Opening up, closing down."

After months of investigating, Pure Passion was closed in 2008 as public nuisance after the Shelby County District Attorney's Office said drugs were being sold and were readily available.

On Wednesday, across the street from the club, it was spent shell casing and bullets after the morning shootout that were readily available.

"It's certainly something that gets our attention," said Paul Hagerman.

Hagerman, an  assistant Shelby County district attorney with the Organized Crime and Gang Unit, is familiar with Pure Passion's spotty history. However, he said they go through the same investigation steps with any club.

"We have to determine the responsibility and connection to the club," he said.

He said it's not as easy as it sounds to just board a place up after a few incidents.

"We've gotta prove a connection. We've gotta prove things they're not doing that could be doing. We've got to prove that in some way they're contributing to the problem," he said.
A man who said he is a manager at the club said the shooting was random and those involved were not customers. He said the club has security, does not allow guns and works to keep their patrons safe.

Also, several hours after the shooting a fire was reported on the roof of the club. It doesn't appear it caused significant damage. It's unknown if the fire is in some way connected to the shooting.