2 shot, 1 dead in drive-by at troubled Whitehaven nightclub

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Police say two men were shot and one was killed in a drive-by early Sunday morning at a troubled Whitehaven nightclub on East Brooks Road.

"It’s like a meeting place for a problem, so I stay away now because of it," said former club patron Freddie Austin. "We need to be able to go places where we can enjoy ourselves, whether it’s an adult entertainment place or a kids’ place. We should be able to go there and enjoy ourselves."

Detectives and crime scene investigators spent Sunday morning following up on leads, interviewing witnesses and searching for clues along Brooks Road, from the club to a gas station down the street.

Pure Passion has been plagued with violence for the past decade.

The club was declared a public nuisance and shut down in 2008.

In 2012, someone was shot and killed outside the club, and two years later, four people were hurt in a shooting there.

Last year, a security guard was arrested after a shootout in the parking lot.

Last November, the club voluntarily closed its doors for a month following a drive-by shooting that sent one person to the hospital.

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich addressed the issues at Pure Passion shortly after that incident, saying it’s up to everyone in the community to speak up.

"If you see something, say something … because we can’t seek justice in the courtrooms until that happens in the streets," she said.

Just feet from the club's parking lot stands a billboard reading, "fed up."

It was put up by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission as a warning for criminals that crimes like this could get them locked up in federal prison for up to 15 years.

The club owners were told to put up cameras that could be monitored by police and hire more security guards, but less than four months later, a man was robbed and shot in the parking lot.

Many are calling for the club to be shut down for good, but Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman told WREG last year, it’s not that easy.

"We've gotta prove things they're not doing that could be doing," he said. "We've got to prove that in some way they're contributing to the problem."

The names of the victims in Sunday morning's shooting haven’t been released yet, but police say the second man is expected to be okay.

“We will be meeting with the owners and their attorney to find out more details about what happened and why,” said Gen. Weirich. “In the past, the owners have been cooperative and have complied with security measures ordered by the court. We will see if more changes are needed, but the fact remains that there are simply too many guns in the wrong hands in our community.”


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