MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A deadly gun battle on Beale Street has many asking what’s being done to keep the iconic street safe.

On April 10, the sun started to rise giving just enough light to see the massive police presence in the heart of Memphis.

Police say around 2:15 a.m., three men stepped foot onto Beale Street and moments later, they were involved in a gun battle in front of the Green Room.

Two groups fired back and forth. Officers joined in. In total, three men were shot.

Tacquan Smith was killed. His mother saw it happen.

“I saw my son have to die. All I want them to do is tell the truth. That’s it.” she said in an interview with WREG.

Police haven’t made any arrests, released any names including the the officers involved, or released any body camera footage. MPD citing legal reasons when they denied our open reocrds request.

District Attorney Amy Weirich said she has not asked the TBI to get involved, because she and Memphis police state it was not a deadly officer-involved shooting. Smith’s family has asked to see the body camera footage, but as of Monday, their attorney, Howard Manis, said that hasn’t happened

He questions the events that night including security.

“What about transparency?” Manis said. “If somebody had done their job and kept a gun off Beale Street, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Beale Street is a gun free zone. The Downtown Memphis Commission says on certain nights, they station unarmed security guards to ID visitors and wand for weapons. They were doing so the night of the shootout but had packed up early.

“There wasn’t a large crowd at all, so they left at 1 a.m., and the incident took place at 2:15 a.m.,” said DMC President Paul Young.

WREG Investigators found at least two other times in the past year guns made it on to Beale. When a man reportedly pulled a gun on a bouncer and when another man pulled out a pistol inside another venue.

“What I can tell you is that we are doing everything we can do to ensure downtown continues to thrive,” Young said.

The DMC said security is now required to stay put from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and holiday weekends until September. Those same nights from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m., there will be a security fee to get on the street.

“The cover charge is a pretty immediate solution, and it works,” said Paul Morris.

Morris said he was the first to implement a cover on Beale when he was the DMC president a few years ago. It was called Beale Street Bucks. He said it helped with security issues.

“The security issues were all related to overcrowding. Too many people on the street at one time,” he said. “The problems were isolated to a few hours in the early Sunday morning hours during the summer.”

He says the overcrowding created lawlessness. They had reports of sexual assaults, fights and stampedes.

Stampede captured on Sky Cop Camera May 2015

Police say that cover charge cut crime around 30 percent, but critics didn’t like paying to be on a public street. In 2017, the city council created a task force to study the cover charge and develop a safety plan.

The task force spent thousands of dollars to go to Bourbon Street in New Orleans to get ideas, and then thousands more to hire a consultant to advise them on crowd control and emergency planning.

The consultant made recommendations like keeping the cover charge, setting a crowd capacity and revising the entry design.

Councilwoman Patrice Robinson, who sat on the task force, told WREG it may be time to look at the consultant’s report again.

“We don’t have to start from scratch. We did have a consultant help us with that,” she said.

The DMC and MPD say many safety procedures they use now stem from the consultant’s report. MPD Chief CJ Davis adding they will install more lighting, bring back mounted patrols and assign more officers to the area.

“We’re going to do it before the next class graduates, because we know we need more visibility,” she said.

The Shelby County sheriff said he’s also looking at his resources.

“Some of the Beale Street merchants have reached out to us. I think I just had a conversation about bike night on Wednesday nights,” Sheriff Floyd Bonner said. “We will look at our resources.”

Clean up crews blew away the crime tape on April 10. It cleared the street of the chaos, but it didn’t erase what happened on Beale, and the importance of preventing it from happening again.