3 shot in strip club parking lot

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Source: Yelp

A total of three men were hit by gunfire during a weekend shooting in the parking lot of a South Knoxville strip club, authorities said Monday. 

Police had announced a day earlier that one person had been killed at The Ball Gentlemen’s Club on Alcoa Highway but, since then, two other men had shown up at area hospitals with gunshot wounds. Their injuries weren’t believed to be life-threatening.

The man who was killed was identified Monday as Broderick Gipson, 36, of Knoxville. His death marked the 26th homicide this year within the city limits.

About 4 a.m. Sunday, the E-911 Center received a call saying there had been a shooting at The Ball Gentlemen’s Club at 3005 Alcoa Highway, said Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland. When KPD officers arrived, they found Gipson in the parking lot, already dead. The only suspect was “a black male who fled the scene on foot.”

Erland declined to provide additional information when asked for more details of the incident and whether any of the men who sought treatment for their wounds were directly involved in the altercation.

“I cannot answer further questions at this time due to the ongoing nature of our investigation. To my knowledge, the shooting in its entirety took place in the parking lot… Nobody has been arrested or charged for their role in the incident and the investigation is continuing. We will continue to provide updates as that investigation progresses,” he said.

The building currently occupied by The Ball Gentlemen’s Club (which has “over 6,000 square feet of adult entertainment and sports bar,” according to its website) has stood in the same lot on Alcoa Highway for more than 30 years and has housed several other strip clubs. It’s not clear who the current owner is. 

Police were called to the club 25 times in the 12-month period before Sunday’s shooting, Erland said in a written reply to a request for a history of law enforcement actions at the nightspot.

“There isn’t much that really stands out,” he said. “The vast majority are simple assaults (6), lost property (3) and vandalisms (3). There was one aggravated assault from November 2020…that was a reported shooting, but nobody was struck. At least two vehicles were, though.”

When asked if that was an unusual number of calls for service, Erland said it didn’t strike him as excessive for a popular bar. 

“I wasn’t shocked by the number of reports,” he said. “There weren’t many major ones, just a lot of miscellaneous reports. If it was a whole bunch of shootings with victims, that would obviously be different.”

Sunday’s shooting death was believed to be the first homicide to take place on club property. 

The club briefly made headlines across the country when a bouncer was wounded by an arrow loosed from some nearby woods in 2013. The bouncer speculated that he was targeted by a bow-and-arrow wielding “disgruntled customer” and credited his thick muscles for limiting the damage to his shoulder.

This year is on track to be the bloodiest since Knoxville began keeping crime statistics. Since Jan. 1, there have been at least 26 slayings in the city plus at least five more homicides in the unincorporated areas of Knox County under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office. 

There were 37 homicides in Knoxville in 2020, more than the previous high of 35 in 1998. At this time last year, there had been only 18 slayings.

Investigators from KPD’s Major Crimes Unit are asking for the public’s help identifying and locating the suspect involved in Sunday’s homicide, according to Erland.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is urged to contact East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online at www.easttnvalleycrimestoppers.org or via the free mobile app, P3 Tips. 

Tipsters will remain anonymous and be eligible to receive a cash reward.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com 

Published on July 13, 2021