MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Downtown officials say safety measures are in place after a shooting on Beale Street injured two people just days before Memphis in May gets underway.

“We expect things to be safe. We expect things to be fun and lively, a lot of good music, a lot of good times happening on Beale Street this weekend,” said Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Young.

Visitors to Beale Street were alarmed to see crime scene tape Sunday afternoon as they watched a man, identified by many as a beloved street vendor, get carried away on a stretcher after a shooting.

It started after that man told police Archie Mays poured a drink on his cart, damaging merchandise. The victim said he pushed Mays in defense of his property. That’s when Mays attacked him, then shot at him, the bullet grazing his head.

An uninvolved bystander was also hit in the hand by the bullet. 

Security on the street jumped into action. A video showed Mays detained until police arrived.  When WREG arrived at the crime scene, we talked to Mays.

“I was defending myself, real (expletive). Please call my mama,” he said.

Mays has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault.

Archie Mays (Courtesy: Shelby County Sheriff’s Office)

The shooting comes days before the Beale Street Music Festival. Thousands of people will fill the streets of downtown as well as Beale Street. Handy Park located on the street will serve as the blues stage. 

Young, who is also running for mayor of Memphis, said it was an isolated incident that stemmed from an altercation and had a message to share with those who may be concerned for their safety.

“Our goal is to ensure that people are able to have a good time, enjoy Beale Street safely. MPD responded quickly, our teams responded quickly,” he said. “There will be metal detectors and wanding and security as normal during that time of year. We have added additional lighting on Beale Street.”

Young said there’s much to look forward to.

Young also said there will be additional police and his office is working with the department. We reached out to Memphis Police but have not heard back.