City responds to shooting outside of Club Lotus in Downtown Greensboro

by Jeff Sykes

One man was killed in the Railyard parking lot off of West Lewis Street overnight according to Greensboro police.Officers working in the area of Club Lotus, across from The Forge, HQ Greensboro and Gibbs Hundred Brewery, responded to a disturbance in the parking lot at the end of Lewis Street as patrons left Club Lotus. Gunshots rang out as officers approached the disturbance and police located Patrick Simmons, 19, of Ahoskie, North Carolina, on the ground. Police were able to secure exits to the parking lot, and developed suspect information while interviewing witnesses. Other offers performed CPR on the gunshot victim until EMS units arrived. (See updated story.)Simmons was pronounced dead at Cone Hospital a short time later. “Officers immediately developed suspect information and were able to locate and stop a vehicle leaving the scene,” according to a police statement on the incident. “Police have arrested Mr. Jermaine Marqel Couch of 704 Glendale Dr. and charged him with First Degree Murder.At this time, investigators have not determined the reason behind the initial disturbance.”

A shooting between patrons leaving Club Lotus and another downtown club last November sparked a wave of debate about enhanced nightclub security measures. That discussion ended with no additional measures after council bogged down in debate over which clubs should be exempted.

City of Greensboro officials released a statement Sunday afternoon regarding the shooting.The full statement is below:

City Officials Reviewing Downtown Incident

GREENSBORO, NC (August 30, 2015) – While the Greensboro Police Department continues its investigation into Sunday morning’s downtown shooting, City officials are reviewing the issue to assure business owners and residents that the downtown area remains safe.

“We consider any incident of violence anywhere in our city to be unacceptable,” says Greensboro City Manager Jim Westmoreland. “Unfortunately, a young man lost his life due to a senseless act of violence and we take these issues very seriously. I’m thankful for the quick response and ongoing efforts of our police department. I want to reassure our residents and downtown property owners that everyone is working hard to investigate this tragic incident and we will continue to work together to find solutions to reduce these problems in the future.”

The Greensboro Police Department is continuing to investigate the shooting that occurred early Sunday morning in the rail yard parking lot near Club Lotus, located at 120 W. Lewis St. Greensboro police officers were deployed to the area before the shooting as part of additional security measures arranged by the downtown nightclub. Police officers responded quickly to the incident, provided emergency aid to the victim, and stopped vehicles from leaving the area, subsequently leading to the arrest of the shooting suspect.

Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott says extra police presence in the downtown area helped to quickly get the situation under control. “Our preliminary investigation indicates that this morning’s homicide in the parking lot off West Lewis Street was a contained incident between the suspect and the victim that stemmed from a verbal argument immediately preceding the fatal shooting,” says Scott. “On duty Greensboro police, along with Greensboro officers who were working secondary employment in the area, reacted quickly when they heard the gunshot. Regrettably, despite rendering first aid to the victim, he died from his wounds. However, officers were able to manage the crowds and quickly get a description of the subject and make an arrest before further harm occurred to anyone else.”

City Councilmember Jamal Fox, who represents the area of downtown where the incident occurred, says he, the City Council, and staff will continue to gather information as they work together on recommendations to address incidents in the Lewis Street area. “We value and understand that all lives matter and it’s devastating to lose another young person in our community. As a City, we are constantly striving to make downtown, and all parts of Greensboro, welcoming and safe environments,” says Fox. “We want to maintain the quality of life and safety that our residents and business owners expect.”

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