Police arrest suspect in Beale Street stabbing

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Michael Thomas

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Memphis, Tenn. — A suspect has been charged after a man was stabbed on Beale Street early Sunday morning.

Michael Thomas, 30, was arrested Sunday night.

Police say Thomas was caught on cell phone video stabbing a man in the back during a massive brawl that broke out as the popular spot was packed with people and officers.

"We saw them all over the street," said tourist Robyn Lamontagne. "To get on Beale Street, we had to come through a checkpoint, we had to show ID, we got wanded. So, we felt safe."

Investigators say the fight broke out just before 3 a.m. in front of Rum Boogie Cafe's Blues Hall.

"A couple of the shop owners told me not to come down here after midnight because there could be trouble," tourist Alfio Gangem said.

Police released surveillance images and asked for the public's help identifying Thomas.

Investigators haven't said if he and the victim knew each other or what led to the violence.

For some tourists who are visiting Memphis for the first time, it's a somber reminder to never let your guard down.

"It just means to watch your surroundings," Gangem said.

There used to be a cover charge to get onto Beale Street after 10 p.m. on Saturdays known as "Beale Street Bucks," but it was discontinued after some complained it was discriminatory and designed to keep low-income people away.

"It's sad," Lamontagne said. "I don't know where the balance would be with trying to keep everybody safe, but still giving everybody access."

Despite the violence, people WREG talked to say they would still go back to Beale Street and recommend it to other tourists.

"It was a nice crowd," Lamontagne said. "We were dancing in the street. We had a really good time."

Police say the victim is going to be okay.

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