Looking across the empty parking lot of Wings Cafe, owner Tom Kim does not know what the future holds.
The sports bar with pole dancers has been closed since Dec. 12 when a gun battle killed three people and wounded three others just inside the front door.
“They’re trying to close down my business, but it’s unfair to me,” Kim said.
Five people have been charged with murder in the case -- Kenyata Norreece Lester, Markques Patterson, Jaquez Terrance Foster, Vertuice Wall and Eric Watkins Jr.
Pointing to nearby stores and restaurants at the juncture of Bloomfield Road and Bloomfield Drive, Kim wonders why there does not seem to be any safety concerns for customers of CVS and S&S Cafeteria.
“This ‘place’ is not dangerous,” he said of the neighborhood and his building. “Persons are the problem. It’s a gun problem everywhere in the United States. Everywhere is a gun problem, not only my place.”
On Tuesday, the Macon-Bibb Public Safety Committee will push for the whole commission to ask Municipal Court to review whether the club’s liquor license should be revoked due to the number of law enforcement calls to the business.
Commissioner Virgil Watkins said police and deputies have been called to the club 70 times in its three-year history.
In May, patrons of Wings Cafe allegedly hatched an armed robbery plot while at the club. The subsequent ambush at Arika Jarrell’s home killed her and her friend Ralph Heard.
One of the alleged robbers, Terrance “Heavy D” Dent, also died of gunshot wounds.
Kim, who has lived in Macon more than half of his 62 years, said he has done his best to run a safe establishment and has a security firm and 16 surveillance cameras in place.
Video of the fatal shooting shows a guard breaking up the initial fight and pepper spraying those involved before bullets started flying.
A sign at the front door reads: “We will call police if anyone is caught with any weapons.”
“We try our best, but because they are customers, we don’t do an airport-type check,” Kim said. “I’m sorry for the families, especially in the holidays, but my security guard did his best.”
Pulling his alcohol license won’t solve the problem, he said.
“Alcohol license doesn’t kill nobody,” said Kim, who is a U.S. citizen who was born in South Korea and voluntarily fought in the U.S. Army.
Kim is not even sure alcohol played a role in the gang-related gun fight.
“They came in fighting right away,” Kim said. “They just came here, not drinking any beer or alcohol (at Wings).”
Kim, who has a restaurant and other businesses in Macon, plans to attend next week’s Macon-Bibb Commission meeting.
“I love Macon,” he said. “This is my hometown.”
Bibb Sheriff David Davis said Kim has cooperated with investigators in all the instances at his establishment.
“This points to a larger issue of businesses like this,” Davis said. “If you close this business, another will open up.”
The two triple-homicides related to Wings Cafe have reopened the conversation about gangs and violence.
Davis applauds Kim’s entrepreneurial spirit and his initiative to have security cameras throughout the nightclub.
“That equipment in this case was extremely valuable,” Davis said.
He thinks a new law requiring surveillance cameras in bars and clubs could curtail violent outbreaks.
“If there’s notoriety given to the cameras there, maybe they will change their behaviors,” he said.
While Davis does not want to see a law-abiding businessman like Kim hurt, Davis said it’s important to let the “due process system work out” in the Wings case.
“If there is a hearing, we’ll bring the facts,” he said.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.