LaMichael Turner, the victim of a shooting early Sunday morning at Baja’s Beach Club on Pensacola Street, is in stable condition at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital recovering from two gun wounds in his back.
Turner’s mother said Wednesday that her son’s health was improving and Turner, 20, a sophomore general studies student from Orlando, was to be released yesterday.
His mother said she thanks all of the students and staff for their love, support and prayers. “It’s OK to go out and have a nice time,” shesaid. “But be careful of your surroundings.”
Turner was a bystander when the brawl that started during the clubs closing around 2 a.m.
Baja’s refused to comment on the incident or security practices.
Turner’s mother said the club should take some responsibility for the incident.
Tallahassee Police Department spokesman, John Newland, said Baja’s hired an off duty police officer to patrol outside of the club Saturday night and Sunday morning.
“Police officers heard the shots and went over to the victim to administer aid,” Newland said, citing that adding extra security is a decision that each club makes. “No clubs are required to have security.”
Newland said that Chubby’s Night Club hired TPD in the past, but the police department had to drop them as clients.
“They were not following our standards,” Newland said.
Chubby’s Night Club assistant bar manager James Tanksley said they used to hire TPD, but now police officers come on their own.
Newland said the problem is that TPD doesn’t have enough officers to go around to every club every night. If a problem does arise when a police officer is not around, it would have to be called in through emergency services.
“Any time an incident like this occurs, clubs want to beef up security,” Tanksley said.
Tanksley said on their busiest night, they have 20 trained bouncers on staff. Chubby’s prevents brawls outside the club by continuously moving people towards their cars to keep the traffic flowing, he said.
He said it’s important to have bouncers in the parking lot to get partygoers in their cars and off the property. This technique manages the crowd and gets people out of the parking lot who might be looking for trouble.
“Anybody displaying disorderly conduct is escorted off the premises,” Tanksley said.
It’s harder to manage people outside of the club where they have access to their cars and weapons, Tanksley said.
Inside the venue, the club can monitor partygoers’ safety by performing strict searches of partygoer’s personal possessions.
“We go so far as having people take their shoes off,” Tanksley said. “People hide all kinds of stuff in their shoes.”
Tanksley said that he tells the staff to take an extra 30 seconds while screening, by making people empty their pockets and take off hats to find razors or pistols.
Chubby’s also has quarterly training workshops to teach bouncers how to search people and deal with physical altercations, Tanksley said.
Although clubs like Chubby’s go the extra mile to ensure safety, the recent shooting has tainted some students’ perception on clubbing.
“I don’t feel secure at Baja’s,” said Chris Windhom, 18, a freshman business administration student from Vero Beach, Fla.
Windhom said there are certain songs that arouse people and he feels that security should work along with the disc jockey to handle the audience’s reactions.
Other students would also like to see better security outside of clubs.
“When they let out of the club, the security is not around,” said Jamaal Parham, 18, a freshman engineering student from Atlanta. “They need less bouncers and more real security guards with guns.”
Parham said he will not live in fear and most likely party at Baja’s again.
“It could happen to anybody,” Parham said.
Anyone with information about the shooting at Baja’s Beach Club call TPD at 891-4200 or CrimeStoppers at 891-4357.
Contact Carla Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org