Strip club slaying is year’s 26th

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The Ball Gentlemen’s Club on Alcoa Highway. Source: Instagram

A strip club in South Knoxville became the scene of the city’s latest bloodshed when a man was found shot to death in the parking lot early Sunday morning. 

A suspect, described only as a black male, ran away from the scene and remains at large, according to Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland. 

The shooting brings the number of homicides in Knoxville so far this year to 26. 

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 Erland.

“Upon officer arrival, a gunshot victim was located in the parking lot and pronounced deceased on the scene. The suspect was described as a black male who fled the scene on foot,” he said. “Major Crimes Unit investigators responded to the scene to begin the investigation, which remains in the early stages.”

Virtually no information about the victim was made public Sunday, such as his name and age. When asked specifically if the victim was a worker or a patron, Erland replied, “I have not heard anything to indicate that the victim was an employee of the club.”

The building that’s occupied by The Ball Gentlemen’s Club 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. 

The Ball doesn’t have a history of fatal shootings or other serious violent incidents. The club did make headlines around the country, however, 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.

Police officials said they need the public’s help solving Sunday’s homicide.

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 12, 2021