EXCLUSIVE: Majestic Sports Bar owner and manager break silence
By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA – Shots rang out at a New Year's party at the Majestic Sports Bar on Cusseta Road early Tuesday morning.
Officials say there were two shootings, one in the parking lot and one inside the club.
Seven total were shot and 24-year-old Columbus State University student Charles Foster, Junior died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
“I feel real bad about the young man getting killed. That's not the way it's supposed to be,” Majestic Sports Bar owner James Weaver, Jr. says.
According to police, two of the victims were underage. The club is 21 and up.
“We don't serve minors,” Nathaniel Smith says.
Smith has run the club for the past few years. He says the minors who were shot ran into the club for safety when the shooting started.
“The way I see it, the ones who ran back into the club after they started shooting, I don't know who they were,” Smith says.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson told NBC 38 Wednesday because minors were involved in the shooting, the city has launched an investigation into the club and its owners.
“Having an alcohol license and and establishment like that is a privilege. There are certain rules and regulations and laws that must be followed. If they are not being followed, if patrons are being put at risk, if the community is being put at risk then we do have remedies at our disposal,” Tomlinson says.
Weaver has owned the club building and property for decades. He says those who claim the club is a nuisance to the area are wrong.
“I don't do anything that I think is going to disgrace the area or my home city of Columbus,” Weaver says.
Weaver says lives in the same neighborhood as the sports bar, “If you walk out there and talk to the people they will tell you Mr. Weaver is no problem. And the club is me.”
Mayor Tomlinson says she is increasing patrols in the area and Weaver says they are beefing up security too from their end.
“Every time we feel like there is a problem like that we put more security and I am going to put more security out there if it needs be,” Weaver says.
Police tell NBC 38 they are confident an arrest is imminent for the shooting death of Foster. Authorities are also on the look out for 21-year-old Dequandrea Artavis Truitt. They say he is responsible for the shooting in the parking lot that injured one.