Greene County Sheriff’s Department investigating shooting death

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 16, 2005

EUTAW-an argument outside The Zodiac Club in Greene County left one man dead from gunshot wounds and several others injured. Greene County Sheriff Johnny Isaac said bullets flew outside the club around 2 a.m. Saturday morning when an argument inside the club resulted in scuffle and gunshots in the parking lot.

When the dust had settled on the confrontation Marquis Rice, 21, of Eutaw was dead. Rice was transported to Carrolton Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Isaac said there were still many questions to be answered involving the shooting.

“We are still trying to get information,” Isaac said. “They should be performing the autopsy this morning and answer a few questions for us.”

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The problems began inside the club earlier that night when another hugged one participant in the scuffles girlfriend. The boyfriend in the case apparently took offense and eventually the two sides squared off. Though Rice received the most serious injuries, bullets struck several others. Anthony Thomas, 32, of Ralph, Dedrick Kirkman, 24, of Ralph, and Demetrius Little, 22, were all shot in the leg during the shootings. All were treated and released.

Isaac said there was probably over two dozen shots fired and knew of at least two guns that were used because of shell casings.

“We know of at least two different caliber of guns that were used,” Isaac said. “We think there was a 9 mm and a 40 caliber used.”

Isaac said no charges have been filed, but they have plenty of leads and suspects.

“We do have a prime suspect, but we are trying to get together with some of the other witnesses,” Isaac said. “We just want to see how many of the others were involved. We believe there were at least three shooters.”

The girl who was hugged was apparently the girlfriend of Kirkman. Kirkman was upset by this and voiced his displeasure. His comments would eventually see him getting jumped outside the club. What happened from there remains unclear. Isaac said they planned to investigate the crime thoroughly to see just how guns became involved.

Over the weekend more than six people were already questioned about the case.

One of Isaac’s main concerns was that no one from the club reported the incident. The department was notified from a hospital rather than the scene of the crime. Isaac said he planned to meet with the club owners and board to discuss why no report was made. In the mean time, the club has been temporarily shut down.

Isaac said if someone from the club would have called the department when the problems began they could possibly have avoided the gunshots.

“They should have called,” Isaac said. “Maybe that would have deterred it. Just knowing that law enforcement was on its way might have been enough for them to just leave.”

Isaac said this has been a problem throughout the county. He said it was important that people learn to let the police handle dangerous situations and not handle them their way.

“This was a senseless act and it should not have happened, but it did,” Isaac said. “When people learn to call the law and not take matters into their own hands we will be a lot better off. People cannot just keep taking the law into their own hands in Greene County.”

The department plans to continue to question witnesses and investigate the shooting to get a better idea of the circumstances that led to the fatal shots. No charges have been filed and no arrests had been made as of Monday.