Dr. Rocks must play by rules

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Union night Club Dr. Rock has been cleared to reopen, but a higher level of order will be expected. The club, which was the site of a fatal shooting New Years Day, was open again last weekend. Greene County Sheriff Johnny Isaac said they allowed the club to reopen but will be looking through incident reports to review problems.

“We looked into it and we had no right to shut them down,” Isaac said. “We are working on looking at the incident reports.”

Isaac said he reviewed several items last week with club owner Howard Crawford and his peers.

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“We went over with the owner some new rules and things,” Crawford said. “We also talked to some of the other partners about what we want to see.”

Isaac said they wanted to see more people in a position to stop altercations before they can reach the level of the New Year’s incident.

“We want more security and don’t want them to allow unwanted persons to lounge around on the property,” Isaac said. “Security guards are fine for minimum stuff. But when things get serious they don’t really look at security guards as a threat.”

Isaac said problems in the club were a concern. However, he said it was activity taking place outside that caused the most trouble.

“We are asking them to put on more security and police the parking lot,” Isaac said. “We don’t want people sitting out in the parking lot to drink, smoke sell and do whatever they want. They need to get them away from there.”

As for the murder investigation and other problems reported at the club, Isaac said they were still working on it.

“We will further the investigation out there,” Isaac said. “We are working on it. It is obvious what is going on and we want to stop it. We have been working on it.”

Several incidents have taken place at the club, but it was the most recent that has snowballed a gathering support for the closing of the club.

Only minutes into the New Year an altercation inside the bar led to fatal shots in the parking lot. Tyrone Lewis, 31, of Eutaw, died at a nearby hospital after being shot in the back by a single gunshot. The shooting was a result of an argument that began over a game of pool and escalated as they left the club.

Witnesses say Lewis was trying to avoid an argument and was attempting to enter his vehicle when John Cockrell, 21, fired a shot into his back. Cockrell turned himself in to authorities around 11 a.m. Saturday and was charged with murder.

Since the shooting concerned citizens of Union have discussed ways of getting the club closed for good. One method rumored to be in the works could be a requirement for business licenses. The city would have to approve licenses for businesses before they could be issued. If this were voted in it is almost certain Dr. Rock would be denied.