Gunther's Lounge patrons worry about safety

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Three men were shot outside Gunther's Lounge June 10. They survived, but it's not the first time gunshots have echoed through that parking lot...and customers fear it won't be the last.

Investigators are still searching for the gunmen in this downtown triple shooting, and in the meantime, customers wonder if they'll ever feel safe again.

"I've been coming here ever since I was twelve, thirteen years old just to see my father. Nothing like this ever happened," says Maurice Jones, who manages the business. In the last year, he's seen five people shot, including his close friend Steven Martin, who was killed. Even so, he says the club doesn't deserve a reputation of drawing trouble.

"It's a younger crowd that's bringing this drama to Gunther's," Jones says. "It's not the club itself."

Management insists it's not what's happening inside the club that's the problem, but rather the crowd that gathers outside in the parking lot.

"They need some security in the parking lot that's all," says one Gunther's Lounge patron.

Sgt. Richard Roundtree of the Richmond County Sheriff's Department is no stranger to the club. He's personally investigated a homicide and several shootings there.

He agrees its parking lot is a problem.

"The capacity is kind of small on the inside, so it leads people to socialize and gather outside the club more so than patronize inside," he says.

This despite two very distinct "no loitering" signs.

But with no metal detectors or security cameras, customers want to see more of a police presence on weekends.

"You have young folks out here on the outside, they be acting a fool," says a patron.

"A lot of the trouble is not here," Jones says. "People come up in here, park in the back and all kinds of altercations happen."

Sgt. Roundtree says he's working several leads right now. He believes Saturday's shootings could be connected to other shootings that have recently occurred.