Community mourns slain club promoter

WINSTON-SALEM — The Triad is mourning the death of a beloved party promoter who was known for throwing awesome events and bringing big names to the area, all while giving back to the community.

In the early hours of May 25, police were called to the parking lot of the Paper Moon Gentleman’s Club on Salisbury Ridge Road in response to a shooting. When officers arrived they found that 41-year-old Eric Jermane Pegues, of 717 Aureole St, had been fatally shot several times.

According to Winston-Salem Police Department, Pegues was shot several times shortly before 3 a.m. while he was standing near the entrance of the club as the business was closing.

“I remember being devastated when I heard the news. He was like my brother,” said Brad McCauley, a close business partner of Pegues’ and co-owner of Ziggy’s. “It’s very hard to see an entire community mourn like this. We’re not only business partners but we’ve been very close friends. He had holiday dinners with us and my children loved him. My son Matthew was in tears when he found out. He was the best of us.”

McCauley, who is also a marketing representative for YES! Weekly, began working with Pegues almost four years ago and since then the pair formed a bond both professionally and personally. He said that Pegues had a genuine heart that he often wore on his sleeve, especially when he was passionate about something. Ziggy’s was one of those things and according to McCauley he was vocal about the impact that losing the business would have on the city and its nightlife.

“E believed that not having something the size of Ziggy’s was an issue. A lot of small clubs can’t afford to or don’t want to pay for the security needed to keep guests and employee’s safe like we did,” he said. “You could be black, white, purple or pink. He was so impartial it didn’t matter. At Ziggy’s he would be there toe to toe with me whether we had a black show, a hippie show or a country show he was there. He cared about all communities.”

He said that even though it wasn’t in his job description Pegues, who didn’t carry a weapon, would usually be the first on the scene to defuse a situation before security would have to get involved.

“He wanted to make sure everybody had a good time and it wasn’t his job to do but he wanted to make sure one person didn’t spoil it,” McCauley said. “He bridged so many gaps in that community with white people and black people.”

Natasha Reese, a former bartender at Ziggy’s, grew close to Pegues and said that he was a really good guy.

“He was always cutting up and in a good mood. You never really saw him upset. He would always try to make stuff right and would never hold a grudge against anybody,” she said. “I just feel like there’s not enough good things I could say about him. He was a really good person.”

Mike Clark, a local promotor and owner of Mogul Movement LLC, called Pegues a solid man that he looked up to in the industry. A man who’d been in the industry for a long time and was respected by those in and out of the industry.

“Every time he came through he would kind of let me know who was pretty much down for me and who wasn’t,” Clark said. “He was a systems guy so he kind of picked apart everything to in order to make it better.”

Clark said he’d heard of Pegues before meeting him through the many promoters he works with from Winston-Salem. He said they always held the elder promotor up on a pedestal. It wasn’t until he sat down and had a conversation with Pegues that he understood why.

“You don’t meet a lot of authentic people, all the way through. On a personal level I feel like he was authentic and he would give it to you the way it is. Whether you want to hear it or not he’s going to give it to you straight,” he said. “You don’t run into solid people doing what we do and he was definitely one of those.”

McCauley would agree, saying that he was very genuine when it came to promotions, something that you don’t typically see in the industry.

“He was really about bringing big events to Winston-Salem because people don’t do that there. I’ve worked with many promoters but I’ve never seen one so ingenious,” he said. “He was honest. I could trust him with tickets and turning in money and all he cared about, besides making a little money, is to do things for the Winston-Salem community that no one else was doing.”

Clark said that it didn’t look like Pegues was planning to stop his work in the entertainment industry anytime soon, which is rare for a 41-year-old.

“Most of the time it’s cats in their late 20s or early 30s that are into the industry. Not E, though. He was really into it and people respected him for it,” he said. “Most of the time when you get older the young cats will try to push you out but that wasn’t the case with him.”

While Pegues will be remembered for bringing some of the largest names to perform in Winston-Salem, he’ll also be missed for his constant philanthropy work. According to friends and colleagues, Pegues was not just focused on bringing great entertainment to the area but also making sure that those who were in a position to give back did so, starting with himself.

“Winston Salem has really lost a son. He was so connected to the community and everyone around him. He gave so much back,” McCauley said. “He was the type of guy that brought his mom food every day and never swore out of respect for her. This past Thanksgiving, he bought 500 turkeys for families in need. He’s raised money for girls to get dresses and guys to get tuxedos so they could go to the prom. He’s helped pay for other people’s funerals, he feeds the homeless every morning after leaving the club at 6 o’clock in the morning. It was an amazing impact this guy had on the community.”

Clark said that Pegues inspired him to create his own nonprofit in an effort to give back to the Triad area.

“He was like the Winston-Salem Mayor because he was involved in the community especially on the urban side. He always did for the community and always tried to get everybody in the community involved,” he explained. “That community definitely appreciated it and put him on a pedestal for it.”

Both Clark and McCauley agree that they can’t let Pegues hard work fall to the wayside. McCauley would like to create a nonprofit or hold a charity event in his name dedicated to giving back to the community and stopping violence.

“I want to keep his message alive and keep his vision going. It doesn’t need to stop. More people need to take a leadership role like that. We need to stop worrying about black and white and it really comes down to that,” he said. “We’re all people and we all live in a community and we have to protect and look out for each other. That’s what he’d say. That’s what I want to see more of. People to take the time out of their day. People to look at their fallen brother, sister and people in need.”

Clark challenges other promoters to be more like Pegues and his efforts to give back to his community.

“Everybody is in a position where we deal with thousands of people on a weekly basis. We’ve got to start touching these people in the right way and not just inviting them out, getting them drunk and then sending them home,” Clark said. “We’ve got to step up. E stepped up.”

Investigators are still looking for clues as to why the tragic event occurred. Police say they’ve not received any knowledge or evidence of an argument or altercation that could’ve possibly led to the shooting but don’t believe the shooting was a random occurrence.

On Sunday morning, what would have been Pegues 42 nd birthday, Sierras Deshan Cobb was arrested in Greensboro in regards to the shooting. Cobbs has been charged with murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He’s being held at the Forsyth County Detention Center.

McCauley said that he doesn’t want to speculate on the events from that night but Reese said she feels that the people involved were selfish and called the killing unnecessary.

“He just didn’t deserve that from anybody. Nobody deserves something like that to happen but for him to be as well-loved as he is, he did not deserve to die that way,” she said. “He never did anything wrong to anybody and I hate that this had to happen to him.”

Police are still investigating and ask anyone with information about the shooting to call (336) 773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at (336) 727-2800.

This is the seventh homicide this year for the city. !