Security to be ramped up on Beale after shooting

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Security is being ramped up on Beale Street after a shooting Monday morning that injured two people.

Police are still searching for the suspects.

It happened around 3 a.m., when the popular downtown spot was still packed with people.

This is just the latest in a string of violence in the area that has many wondering if they should go back.

It’s one of the city’s most popular spots, with millions of visitors every year.

But this morning, there was a much different vibe - crime scene tape and flashing police lights - even as the jazz music continued to play.

Witnesses tell us they were partying at Club 152 when the shots rang out.

"I want to say it was just quiet for a little minute and then I heard a 'pow, pow'...and it was over,"Corey Garner said. "Everybody got to running."

Another witness told WREG people in the club threw themselves to the floor when they heard the gunshots.

"The whole club’s layin’ on the ground," he said.

Police say the suspects drove down Second Street and started shooting at people standing on Beale near the Blues City Café.

"We don’t know what happened," witness Elliott Dugger said. "All we know is shots started firing and we got down, tried to get out of the way."

This is just one of several violent incidents in the area in the past year.

Last November, a man was shot outside Club 152, and that suspect - who was caught on surveillance video - still hasn’t been caught.

Then back in June, MPD officer Verdell Smith was hit and killed on Beale Street by a man police say had just shot three people downtown.

And last month, a woman shot two men on Lt. George W. Lee Avenue, just one street over.

Ken Taylor, with the Beale Street Merchant’s Association, tells WREG there are already more than two dozen cameras watching the area 24/7, and says they are adding more lighting by the end of the month, and more officers.

He says they're also meeting with police and the Downtown Memphis Commission to find other solutions.

"We all come together, we all review, and we all come forward with a general consensus to do what we need to do to make sure that Beale Street stays safe," he said.

Despite the recent issues, Taylor says crime on Beale Street has actually gone down by 30 percent since the summer.

But he admits there’s still work to do to keep people safe.

“Anytime you see 5 million people and you allow alcohol, you’re going to have incidents," Taylor said. "Our job is to do everything that we can to deter crime, and to contain it as quickly as possible when it happens."

Both victims in Monday morning's shooting are expected to be okay.

Police say they're looking for three men in connection with the crime, who were driving a white Infiniti G-35.

If you know anything, call Crimestoppers at 528-CASH.

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