Weekend murder may lead to teen club closing

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, July 2, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A murder this weekend may force one business to close its doors.

The shooting happened early yesterday morning at Club Platinum, formerly known as Tinted Windows. It's the second major crime linked to the popular teenage club in the past month.

A man is dead, and a 16-year-old is charged with his murder. Two other teens are in custody and being questioned. But the bigger question is: is the club the problem?

Club Platinum's new owner Rakeim McMorris doesn't think so. " We did everything in our power to assure the kids safety so i don't feel we should be shut down."

But Richmond County Investigators aren't so sure. After an aggravated assault and now a murder linked to the club in the last month.

"The tragic thing about this case is it's another example of a senseless murder in the streets of Augusta." says Richmond County Investigator Sgt. Richard Roundtree.

24-year-old Nicolas Carpenter died Sunday morning shortly after being shot in Club Platinum's parking lot.

Investigators say 16-year-old Denzel Ward pulled the trigger.

Witnesses to the shooting say a Grey car pulled up in the parking lot and stopped across the parking lot. Someone in the car then started firing several shots toward the club, one bullet fatally striking Carpenter.

"It was just shocking to me to think that someone would shoot across the parking lot like that and kill someone." says McMorris.

Investigators say the shooting was in retaliation to a verbal fight earlier that night, a fight that started inside the club.

"Close all the teenage clubs down. If you're not 18 or 21 i don't think you should be in the club." Words spoken by 24-year-old Trammell Walker. A man who used to frequent this same club as a teen.

But his friend Deon Ware disagrees, adding he'd let his 14-year-old son come to Club Platinum even after hearing about the shooting.

"I think they shouldn't close the teenage clubs down because it gives the kids somewhere to go."

Owner Rakeim McMorris just bought the troubled club last year and says he'll continue to work hard to turn the club's image around and make it safe for everyone. "So what we're going to do in a proactive approach is hire more deputies inside and outside to prevent this from happening in the future."

The club will be reopen Wednesday night (July 4) for business as scheduled.

No word on when Officers plan to complete their investigation on Club Platinum, but Sgt. Roundtree says there is a possibility the club could loose it's license and be forced to shut down

Investigators say the fight was between two groups fighting over their respective neighborhoods: Southside and Barton Village. They will not say at this time if it was in fact Gang activity but they are investigating the possibility.

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