MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As thousands flock to Memphis for the Southern Heritage Classic, the city continues to see more violence in Downtown Memphis.
As tents go up along Tiger Lane, tailgaters are thrilled to once again prep for the Southern Heritage Classic. Some say while crime is a concern, the Southern Heritage Classic has always been a safe place.
That safety wasn’t felt Thursday night. Memphis Police say one man was shot inside FedExForum during a Lil Baby concert, causing chaos.
“It was right in front of the stage on the left,” said concertgoer Madison Young. “Everybody started running this way everybody at the top got down. and then made us evacuate from the top.”
Violence continued Friday afternoon in the downtown area. MPD says a woman was shot while intervening in a domestic dispute near Wagner Place and Union Avenue. WREG spoke with an eyewitness.
“His wife, he was trying to shoot her, and he missed and shot the lady walking her dogs,” the witness said.
The incident adds to the unsettling uptick in gun violence that tailgaters hope stays far away from the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.
“There has never been that kind of issue here, because people come here to have a good time,” a tailgater said. “We fellowship and family, like I said. I just pray that that issue doesn’t come into this culture.”
Terrance Turnage and Jarchella Miller have been tailgating for 21 years with their Northside High classmates. For Miller, crime isn’t a major concern at the event.
“We just don’t let that steal our joy,” Miller said. “We just watch our surroundings and we love our city.”
While things might feel a little different with the Tennessee State Tigers now taking on Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions, loyal supporters say it’ll always be a safe haven.
“It’s always been relatively safe here that’s why everybody likes coming here because we never had any issues,” said tailgater Tonya Gordon.
Liberty Stadium has a clear bag policy. Attendees will also be screened before entering the venue. MPD says there will be officers and hired security on hand.