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Gun crimes associated with several locations as one Greensboro nightclub finds itself in crosshairs

by Jordan Green

 

A shooting outside the N Club in Greensboro’s downtown entertainment district has struck a nerve, prompting a developer connected with plans to build a luxury hotel near the International Civil Rights Center and Museum to call for the nightclub’s closure.

 

“Yeah, I want it closed down,” said Milton Kern, a co-owner of the Elm Street Center, which is slated for redevelopment as part of a new hotel bearing the Wyndham flag. “Four people got shot coming out of there beside our property. I’m not alone. Every business person on South Elm Street is upset about it.”

The incident that has riled Kern and prompted a wave of sensational media coverage did not lack for drama. In the early morning hours of Oct. 28, a 22-year-old Winston-Salem man named Quinton Dewayne Campbell, who was wanted on multiple warrants, left the N Club as part of one of two groups that reportedly exchanged words inside. Campbell reportedly turned and began firing into the other group from the corner of South Elm Street and February One Place. Greensboro police Cpl. JM Atkins, who happened to be on the scene, repeatedly ordered Campbell to drop the weapon, according to police. When Campbell reportedly leveled the gun at the officer, Atkins fired his weapon at the shooter, hitting him in the chest and leg.

Notwithstanding the prominent location and nimble police work, a review of police service calls and narrative crime reports indicate the N Club is hardly exceptional for either gun crimes or level of demand on public safety resources.

A request made by YES! Weekly to the Greensboro Police Department for service calls for six nightclubs that regularly accommodate large crowds found that 117 S. Elm St., the address corresponding to the N Club, ranks behind addresses for Greene Street Club and Inferno. Over the past six months, police have responded to 85 calls for 113 N. Greene St., the address of Greene Street Club; to 60 calls for 212 S. Elm St., where Inferno is located; and to 53 calls associated with the N Club. When narrowed to Priority 1 or Priority P calls, defined as involving offenses with a potential for injury, in progress or having just occurred, the N Club and Greene Street are each logged in at about a dozen, although two traffic stops that occurred outside the N Club might be discounted from the comparison.

Addresses for the Lotus Lounge and Inferno, two downtown dance clubs operated by Paul Talley, respectively logged nine and eight Priority 1 calls. High-priority police calls to Plush NightLife, a club on High Point Road near Interstate 40, and Much-Level 2-Heaven, an establishment two doors up from the N Club on South Elm Street, numbered much lower.

The most common high high-priority calls for the nightclubs are fights, and also include armed subject incidents, stab/gunshot wounds, robbery alarms, an incident classified as an assault/rape and a threat.

Kern declined to discuss offenses associated with other nightclubs that have also place a burden on public safety resources, and said he would prefer not to delve into whether there was a pattern of behavior on the part of the N Club’s clientele that warrants the club being singled out among its peers.

“Just inviting thugs and criminals to hang out down there,” he said. “We’re tired of it.”

Capt. Wayne Scott, who has command of the department’s Central Division, could not be reached from comment on Monday, but remarks by Chief Ken Miller similarly reflected a perception that the N Club is singularly troubled.

“The N Club, I think from all the accounts, has had more problems than other clubs,” Miller said. The chief planned to meet with Downtown Greensboro Inc. on Tuesday to talk about clubs, but cautioned that he wasn’t sure the department would change the way it polices downtown nightlife.

“I don’t know what differently we’d do,” he said. “There are a group of 12 officers that work clubs. We move crowds. We do all the standard things you would expect to manage crowds of people that dump out on to South Elm Street now every day of the week. One voluntary thing that the clubs can do, we’ve gotten some of them to close their doors early and get people out in a staggered fashion.”

The N Club is also not alone among Greensboro nightclubs and bars in being occasionally associated with gun crime. Police arrested 23-year-old Scott Andrew Busenlehner, of Siler City, in the early morning hours of Oct. 29 in a Priority 1 service classified as “armed subject” for 113 N. Greene St. Assistant Chief Dwight Crotts said the only link between the incident and Greene Street Club of which he was aware was that Busenlehner had gotten in an altercation with some patrons of the club, which took place on the street, and that the incident had taken place in the parking lot behind the club. Crotts said it was unclear what establishment, if any, Busenlehner had patronized before the incident and said he had not information to contradict proprietor Kenny Efird’s assertion that the young man had never set foot in Greene Street Club.

Busenlehner, who was arrested in a parking lot on the 100 block of North Greene Street, faces four counts of assault by pointing a gun, a charge of being intoxicated and disruptive and a charge of going armed to the terror of the public — all misdemeanors. Efird obstreperously disputed the notion that Greene Street Club had something to do with the incident.

“There’s about 20 buildings on that block,” Efird said. “What about Renaissance? You didn’t see Stumble Stilskins mentioned. I think it’s bullsh*t and it’s a lie, and you can quote me on that. I’m pissed off about it. Hell, he was behind — I’ll tell you where he was behind — he was behind the attorney, Jim Weeks’ building.”

The building housing the law offices of James B. Weeks, Thomas F. Roupas and Gregory L. Gorham lies three doors up the street from Greene Street Club.

Efird also said it was unfair to focus media attention on demand for public safety services at nightclubs.

“Did you find out what the calls for service were at Four Seasons [Town Centre]?” he asked. “How about UNCG and A&T. It ain’t just the clubs. We can’t control who carries guns. Look at Four Seasons? Didn’t they have a shooting there once? There was a shooting at Old Navy. You should shut down the whole Friendly Shopping Center.”

Shootings at nightclubs and bars — any place where people gather to consume alcohol, where tempers flare and romantic competition flourishes — are a regular occurrence in cities with a quarter of a million people. Lucky 7’s Sports Bar on High Point Road almost certainly didn’t register as a concern for any of Greensboro’s civic leaders before Halloween morning, if it even does now.

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, police report that 24-year-old Christopher Nathaniel Floyd sustained a single gunshot wound at Lucky 7s or in the bar’s parking lot, was taken to Moses Cone hospital for treatment and was subsequently released. Floyd’s assailant had fled by the time police arrived.

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