Sheriff explains decision to suspend The Thirsty Turtle’s alcohol license, mayor reacts

In less than a year, a downtown Macon club has seen two deadly shootings, and Macon-Bibb is taking action.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Thirsty Turtle in downtown Macon is facing an alcohol license suspension for the second time in less than a year.

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis sent a letter to the club Tuesday explaining the license would suspended for at least 90 days.

The letter came after two people were killed and two others were injured in a shooting outside the Cherry Street establishment early Saturday morning.

“To have the same establishment to have a very similar situation to what occurred back in November, to have it occur just a few months later and really just a few months after they reopened is very concerning,” Sheriff David Davis said.

The November shooting Davis referred to left one person dead and seven others injured.

On Saturday, July 24, deputies found one man shot in front of the Cherry Street Lofts and another man down the stairs behind the bus stop. One man was pronounced dead on scene and the other was pronounced dead at the hospital. Two others were injured.

Witnesses say the shots came from an automatic weapon, and witnesses also told deputies a fight inside the club sparked the shooting.

“In the interest of public safety and in the interest of just stepping up and stopping everything so the investigation can be completed, we decided to suspend the license,” Davis said Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office can take away alcohol licenses if it has reason to believe a violent event sparked inside or within 100 yards of a business.

Mayor Lester Miller says something needs to change.

“I think there’s some issues that need to be addressed,” Miller explained. “As a sheriff’s office and I think as a government, we owe it to our citizens to give them a safe place to go.”

Miller says the club was back open again the night after the shooting, which raised the brows of several commissioners. Miller says commissioners will have the option to vote to close down the club completely once the investigation is completed.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but it does seem like now that the general consensus is that if all the facts come out and it supports the indication that this particular club created an environment resulting in at least three people getting shot and killed and eight people getting shot within the past couple months, then this is a location that should shut down permanently,” Miller said.

Miller says commissioners could vote on revoking the club’s business license within the next 60 days.

41NBC reached out to The Thirsty Turtle for comment. Management said they’re not speaking about the incident at this time.

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