Bar not at fault in shooting

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Early Sunday morning a Greenville man was shot and killed outside of the Front Street Pub.

The outcry from the public around town on social media was almost immediate.

Many are calling for the City of Greenville to close the business down. Those in favor of shutting down the bar cite a “history of violence.”

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The truth is, there’s not much evidence to support that argument.

According to officials with the Greenville Police Department, officers have responded to calls at the bar just five times, including Sunday morning’s tragic call.

Have there been fights at the bar? Absolutely.

In fact, there was a fight there Sunday morning that authorities say eventually led to the shooting.

But the staff at the Front Street Pub was not at fault, at least not from the information we have gathered from the police department and city officials who have been busy conducting an investigation into Sunday morning’s incident.

Authorities say that the bar’s security guards broke up a fight between Russell Gregory and Marlon Herbert, and that once the men were asked to leave the bar, the fight continued outside. The police were called, but by the time the officers arrived on the scene the fight had turned deadly. Herbert allegedly shot Gregory in the head as Gregory attempted to pull him from a car that was stopped on Commerce Street.

It was a tragic situation, but to fault the bar, the city or the police department for what happened is unreasonable.

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said on Monday that owners Michael and Karen Jackson have done everything the city has asked them to do to make the establishment as safe as possible, including using metal detectors to search for weapons before customers enter the bar. Their security broke up the fight and called the police.

However, with emotions high, the Jacksons have agreed to temporarily close down in the wake of the shooting.

Mr. Jackson declined to comment on Monday, but McLendon told us that he expects the bar to reopen in the near future.

We can debate the merits of the business until we are blue in the face. Some will support having a bar in town. Others will strongly oppose it.

But what’s being lost in the discussion about whether or not the city should close down the Front Street Pub by revoking its business license is the fact that a life was lost.

That’s a tragedy no matter the circumstances that surround it.

Our hope is that if Mr. Herbert is in fact the shooter, he will be held accountable for Mr. Gregory’s death.