By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - The NAACP and Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance met in front of Majestic Sports Bar Wednesday afternoon to pray for 24-year-old Columbus State University student Charles Foster, Junior.
Foster was killed in the New Year's shooting at the club that also injured six. He was set to graduate from CSU in May.
"He was a smart young man, a college student. And his professor had to bring his diploma to his funeral to give to his parents," Reverend Willie Phillips says.
The NAACP says it is asking for the city to rezone the area so the club could no longer operate.
"You have family units right around the corner, you have apartments right down the street and we have a club here that is not advantageous for a good healthy family community," Nate Sanderson, President of the Columbus Chapter of the NAACP, says.
But the NAACP was met with opposition from the club's owners and lease holders.
"What they are saying about they are sick of the young people getting killed, no underage people have been killed her since I have had it," Nathaniel Smith, who leases the club, says.
Those associated with the club blame the violence on the area.
"The south side has always been rough. That's where you have your drug dealers and you're young people with guns," Smith says.
"We are not against this club, the club owner, the establishment, they have a right to earn a living, but as a community the community also has a say so," Sanderson says.
Those who say they have been fighting to close the club's doors, say they have seen some retaliation.
"Back in 2004-2005 my van windows got knocked out, tires got slashed, windows in my house got broken," Phillips says.
Reverend Phillips has been fighting the club for more than a decade. He says the retaliation has continued through the years, but he is not giving up.
"We have lost too many good man, enough is enough," Phillips says.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says the city is investigating the club and its owners.
WLTZ NBC 38
6140 Buena Vista Rd, Columbus, GA 31907, 706-561-3838
GA News Hotline: 706-507-6397
AL News Hotline: firstname.lastname@example.org