String of violence in Aiken

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, Jan. 3, 2008

AIKEN, S.C. -- More nightclub troubles - this time in Aiken. A wild weekend there lands 3 people behind bars. Several people injured and officers looking for more suspects. The crimes taking place The Ponderosa Sports Club, Grill and Nightclub and The Waffle House -- both on Richland Avenue.

4 fights, an assault, a domestic disturbance and disorderly conduct at the club leave investigators wonders - what to do next?

"I just couldn't believe what happened. I just thought I was dreaming," says victim Shannen Williams.

His dream, reality. All happening after just 1:30AM New Years Morning at the Ponderosa Nightclub.

"The only thing I remember is walking by the girls bathroom, seeing a girl raise her hand up at me. I grabbed the girls hand. I remember getting pushed into the girls bathroom. I remember them turning the lights off and I remember guys hitting me in the face," says Williams.

And investigators say Williams was semiconscious in the woman's bathroom, severely beaten in the face. William's girlfriend met him at the hospital.

"Both of his eyes were closed shut. And all he could open was the crack in his eye. And it's swollen with blood all in it. It looked back," says girlfriend Amanda Buckner.

Williams say unprovoked. But that type of behavior there not unusual.

"There's usually a fight that is going to break out most of the time," says Williams.

Not just this weekend, when a domestic disturbance and a fight also broke out at the club. And another fight near the club. Ending with three arrests: 25 year old Damien Simmons, along with Joel Williams and Joelle Williams both 21 for disorderly conduct. But violence in the past too and too often for officers. So now, this club's future is up in the air.

"It's hard to say. You don't want to say 3 strikes and he's out because he had 2. He's had some other charges against him," says Aiken Dept. of Public Safety Lt. David Turno.

And the problems go to The Waffle House down the street -- where a shooting and assault happened in the parking lot this past holiday weekend. Investigators looking for several suspects in those incidents.

Ponderosa's manager - Tristan Jones - will be in court tomorrow morning for having about a hundred more people in the club than there should be. That happened back in late 2007. The building owner tells News 12 she is frustrated with the problems and has told Mr. Jones changes will be coming.


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