The suspect in the Dec. 10 shooting of Cream Sports Bar and Lounge bouncer Eric Turner remains in jail. Marcus Gunn, who is charged with murder and aggravated assault, was denied bond in a first appearance hearing on Dec. 11.
He is accused of shooting Turner in the club’s parking lot after the club had closed. Turner had tried to break up an argument in which Gunn was involved when he was killed. Authorities claim Gunn, who was driving a vehicle with two other men inside, shot Turner and then drove away. Gunn was arrested later that morning during a traffic stop.
Officials say the case is still under investigation.
Cream Sports Bar and Lounge is ready to make some changes, according to club owners Sheron Cobb and Calvin Wright.
The owners spoke before the Hinesville city council Thursday to address concerns from neighboring business owners who complained to council Dec. 1 about noise problems, safety and parking issues.
Nine days after that meeting, club bouncer Eric Turner was killed outside the club while trying to clear the parking lot. Neither city council members nor club owners discussed Turner’s death at Thursday’s meeting.
But Cobb said safety has always been his main concern.
"Before I opened the club, I came to the city police and asked can I have a police officer. They told me no. The county told me they would get me one. They told me no on the day of the opening of Cream," Cobb said. "We hired Officer Perry. He was a police officer, he used to be a Liberty County police officer also. He works the door for me at Cream. About seven months after we opened up, the police started coming around. I didn’t have a problem with it because I asked for them anyway."
Cobb said police are at the club between midnight and 12:30 a.m. walking drug dogs around cars at the club.
"Then when they may get a hit on a car, they wait for the person to get out of the club then arrest them. I feel like that’s harassment as far as my customers are concerned," he said. "Like I said, I don’t have a problem with them (the police) being there, I wanted them there."
Since the Dec. 1 meeting, Cobb said an officer came to the club because of a noise complaint from one of the hotels.
"I asked him what the decibel reading was, he didn’t know. The hotel called and once the hotel calls they have to cite me. No decibel readings or anything, just ticket write-up," Cobb said. "The second officer did the same thing."
Tavares Garrett, Cream’s DJ, said according to the city’s ordinance when an officer arrives they are supposed to have a sound level meter measuring the sound at the location.
Garrett said because the club is next to motels it is considered to be located in a residential area and has specific sound levels.
Hinesville ordinance Sec. 11-148, says for a residential area the sound level is 60 decibel from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 55 decibels from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
"We’re talking about an establishment that holds 468 people and even at 60 decibels, according the decibels chart, it’s me talking right now," Garrett said.
Many motel rooms are next to Cream’s entrance, Garrett said, which he believed is why guests complain about the noise. He said the music is turned down when police arrive.
Garrett also spoke about the music from Cream not being "plainly audible."
According to ordinance Sec. 11-147, any noise in excess of the sound level or which is otherwise plainly audible shall be in violation. Garrett said he stood outside, walked around the building and the music is not audible to people outside.
"We just don’t understand why they immediately show up because of a phone call and cite the club," Garett said.
Wright said Cream wants people to have a good time regardless of age or ethnic group. He asked the council to tell them if they are doing something wrong.
"As far as safety, we can address that going forward. We can provide more security inside the club and outside the club. As far as the dress code, we can go and establish a dress code so more of the people that might come out for wrongdoing might not come out that night because of the dress code," Wright said.
Smoking inside the club has also been banned.
"We’re making these changes going forward with the intentions of doing right by the city of Hinesville," Garrett said. "We ask that you look into our situation and show a little bit of leniency as far as how we’re operating. Anything you feel that we need to change, we’ll make that happen."
Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown said a letter from city attorney Linnie Darden III to the owners explains how the owners and city can move forward. The owners had not seen the letter.
Earlier in the meeting, when the council reviewed businesses applying for licenses to sell alcohol for consumption on and off premises, council member Jason Floyd brought up Cream.
Cream was listed as a one of the business who met the requirement to have their license renewed for on premise consumption.
Floyd asked if a permit can be revoked if the club does not address concerns presented to the council.
Darden said the council has the power to "revoke, suspend or probate anyone who does business in Hinesville" but the measure would have to go through a hearing process.
Floyd then made the motion to approve the alcohol license for Cream and the other businesses listed, which was unanimously approved.