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Hephzibah man killed at Statesboro club

Police looking for suspects in 19-year-old's shooting

A Hephzibah man was shot and killed Saturday night at Jackson's, a night club on Old Register Road.

            Julius Issac McReynolds, 19, died shortly after the 11:30 p.m. shooting, said Statesboro Police Captain L.C. Williams.

            Police are releasing few details regarding the homicide, citing the ongoing investigation as the reason. No suspect has yet been identified, he said.

            The homicide is the second in five years that occurred at the location, formerly known as Legend's Bar and Grill. Saturday night's incident was the third shooting incident within that period, Williams said.

            On Sept. 8, 2002, a man was killed in a shooting at Club Legend. On Oct. 2, 2005, Georgia Southern University basketball players were injured in a shooting incident.

            But business owner Maurice Jackson said Saturday's shooting is the first violent incident he has had at Jackson's since he opened for business last November.

            Williams said, "However, police officers met with a man April 21 who reported being seriously injured while trying to break up a fight at Club Jackson's.

            "He was struck in the back of the head with an unknown object, " he said. "He suffered a gash and had a red bruise on his back." No arrest was made in that incident.

            Statesboro City Councilman Will Britt, who is seeking reelection in District 3, said he is no longer associated with the club. The building is owned by his brother, and "I'm not involved at all, not since I got out of the business a year and a half ago."

            But Britt was on the scene when the shots rang out. He was outside the club, talking to Statesboro Police Lieutenant Anthony Gore, who was on routine patrol and stopped at the club to make contact with Jackson.

            "I never even went in," Britt said. He was talking to Gore and several "old friends," including a number of former GSU athletes.

            Jackson had gone back inside the establishment, where "hip-hop night" events including a cookout, were taking place.

            "A small altercation started, and my guys broke it up," he said. "They put the guy (the unidentified suspect) out and I thought it was over with, then I heard several shots."

            Immediately, he put the club on lockdown. "Nobody goes in, nobody goes out," he said, explaining his security policy.

            Jackson said he employed about 30 bouncers Saturday night, and "about six were outside with the crowd of about 15 people," when the shooting occurred.

            Britt also said there were few people outside at the time of the shooting.

            Williams said the small crowd reacted in panic when the shots rang out. "We have witnesses … the crowd started running, and people were hollering."

            Williams said, the shooting began in the "VIP parking lot, where you can pay extra to park beside the building. The shots were there, right beside the building."

            But Jackson said there were several shots and shell casings also found in the roadway and the driveway.

            "I heard several shots, in excess of six or more," he said. "People started running, and when EMS arrived to pick up the victim, he was in the Apex parking lot." Apex is another club adjacent to Jackson's.

            Williams said McReynolds was struck several times in the leg, ankle and back. Bulloch County EMS transported McReynolds to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, "where he was treated and pronounced dead," Williams said.

            The victim's body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Savannah where an autopsy revealed he died of the gunshot wound to the upper back, he said.

            Jackson said business will go on as usual, but "I'm going to do some rethinking," about scheduling events that could draw a large, rowdy crowd. "We will look at some of the parties. I might steer away from large crowds."

            He said he wishes the Statesboro Police Department would allow off-duty law enforcement officers to work as security for such events.

            "I don't care if I had to pay $50 an hour," he said. "I think it would be a deterrent," to crime.

            Williams said Statesboro Police policy prohibits officers from working at establishments serving alcohol, and said most officers don't want the job anyway because they would have to deal with people who are intoxicated and disorderly.

            Statesboro Police incident reports revealed a second unrelated altercation took place later that night, around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, at Club Jackson. Errin C. Wilkins, 18, Saunders Avenue, Hinesville, was charged with disorderly conduct after being involved in a physical fight with an unknown female, whom police did not locate.

            Williams said the investigation regarding the shooting continues, and asked that anyone with information regarding the shooting call Detective Terry Briley at (912) 764-1542 or 764-9911.

            "All calls will be held in the strictest confidence," he said

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