MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A shooting outside an event venue in the Edge District just after midnight Sunday morning killed a 26-year-old man and sent three others to the hospital.
Police said a "large fight" broke out around 12:54 a.m. outside the performance theater venue, The Den, in the 600 block of Marshall Avenue.
But when officers tried to disperse the crowd, they said suspects in a silver SUV began shooting.
The Den's owner said he opened the spot a little less than two years ago for poets, comedians, singers and artists to come together, and that they don't even serve alcohol.
"We wanted to be the place — a safe place for artists. That's what we're trying to do here," said Darius Clayton. "That's why what this is is so crazy. We're against this type of action. This is not something that happens here... We're about soul, we're about love. We're not about hatred, we're not about negativity."
The owner tells me his venue isn't a nightclub - it's a performance theater - a spot for poets, comedians, singers, actors and artists to showcase their talents. They don't even serve alcohol. The shooting happened around the block, right in front of MPD officers. @3onyourside https://t.co/K82Oqvazqx
— Nina Harrelson (@NinaHarrelsonTV) December 3, 2017
Clayton said there were several security guards inside and outside the building and that MPD officers were staked out on the street, as they are every weekend, when the fight broke out and someone opened fired.
"MPD were already here — this happened in front of them," Clayton said. "So that says the psyche of the person who did this."
He said the shooting happened on South Orleans Street, just a two-minute walk from the popular Sun Studio.
"At what point does it stop? At what point do we say, 'Hey, this ain't cool no more.' It never was cool," Clayton said. "Creating something from nothing is cool. Performing a poem, telling a joke, painting, writing a song, playing an instrument is cool. Using violence to solve any problem, it's not cool."
Clayton wants to use his platform to help the victims, and hopes people will step up and give back.
“That’s who I’m more worried about than anybody is the people who were hurt," he said. "I’m sorry, I apologize. Even though it didn’t happen in my space, you came out to have a good time and something messed up happened to you."
If you want to help, you can send Clayton a message on The Den's Facebook page, or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police haven't identified the victims, but family of the man who was killed tells us he was 26 years old.
Investigators are searching for a silver SUV in connection to the shooting.
If you know anything that could help, call Crime Stoppers at 528-CASH.