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Authorities shut down bar where fatal shooting happened this weekend

2:59 PM, Sep 7, 2012   |    comments
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A bar that was the site of a fatal shooting this weekend has been shut down by authorities.

On Friday, the Knox County District Attorney General's Office and the Knoxville Police Department Repeat Offender Squad served a temporary injunction under the public nuisance law on Rock's Grand Lounge, located at 2415 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue.

DA Randy Nichols calls the after hours club "a hub of violence, placing the public in direct danger as a result of the criminal activity."

Last Saturday, KPD responded after gunshots were fired outside of the club at 3:35 a.m.  A few hours later, a man was shot outside the club.  Esley D. Clemons, 35, of Knoxville died later at UT Medical Center.

The DA's office says there have been five shootings, multiple stabbings, and many assaults both inside the club and in its parking lot over the last 24 months.  In addition, there have been repeated drug, firearm, and alcohol law violations at this location. They also say the criminal behavior has spilled over into a nearby church parking lot.

This is the latest closure in the effort by the DA's office and KPD to create safer neighborhoods.  So far, General Nichols has pursued 31 nuisance warrants to shut down problem businesses.

Nichols pointed out that "state nuisance laws allow law enforcement to take action to shut down locations where criminal activities are both disruptive to the neighborhood as well as where the criminal acts actually result in injury and death".

KPD Chief David Rausch said that "the importance of having the nuisance authority in our tool kit is that it allows us to do more than just taking an individual criminal off of the streets. It allows us to close down a whole nest of snakes threatening a neighborhood and to have an immediate and significant impact".

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