Club violence settling down a year later

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Officials say things have “settled down” at Remington’s Hunt Club, where three University of Southern Mississippi football players were shot one year ago.

Hattiesburg Police Department spokesman Lt. Eric Proulx said that while officers are still dispatched to the club, callers now reference minor issues that don’t compare to previous violent episodes.

“That’s expected with any nightclub,” he said.

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Police statistics also show that the number of calls to the club has decreased.

Officers have been called to the club 85 times during the first 10 months of this year, compared to 151 calls during the same period last year.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 14, 2010, Southern Miss football players Martez Smith, Tim Green and Deddrick Jones were injured in a shooting in the club’s parking lot.

Green and Jones are back on the football team this year. Smith, who has graduated, is paralyzed from the waist down. Travis Brown was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault. His case has not yet gone to trial.

Proulx said police still closely monitor activity at the club in hopes of quelling a relapse of the violent behavior that led to the club’s forced closure in March.

“The incidents have not escalated to the point where we’ve had to take action thus far,” Proulx said of the club since its April reopening. “It’s a question of whether the amount of danger to the general public is increasing beyond the usual scope.”

District Attorney Patricia Burchell, who pushed for the court-ordered closure, echoed Proulx’s recall of recent incidents.

“They have the usual, bar-type incidents, but I haven’t heard of any violence or anything close to the level of what was going on before,” she said. “I think it’s settled down a whole lot from where it was last year.”

After the March closing, owner William D. Norris filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the jurisdiction for the then-pending injunction hearing on the club shifted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Mississippi.

Bankruptcy Judge David W. Houston III issued an order April 27 allowing the club to reopen under a set of stipulations concerning monitoring the activity at the club.

Now, patrons must submit to wand-style metal detectors upon entry. A professional security company is required to maintain the parking lot, and guards must log vehicles upon entry and exit. Changes were also required in the dress code.