During the Nov. 5, Hinesville City Council meeting Hinesville Police Chief Bill Kirkendall recommended to Mayor Allen Brown and Council that the city consider bringing the owners of Big Apple Nightclub before council and Mayor for a show cause hearing.
City Manager, Kenneth Howard said he has met, separately, with the owners of GATA’s Sports bar, Big Apple and Boots to discuss security issues and address recent incidents at each club in the past few months.
Howard said GATA’s management was extremely cooperative and have met the guidelines set forth by the City.
But Howard asked Chief Kirkendall to address Mayor and Council regarding Big Apple and Boots where the owners have not been as cooperative, and incidents continue to be problematic.
Kirkendall spoke specifically about Big Apple. The Chief reminded Mayor and Council that he stood before them in 2018 during a four-hour show cause hearing that resulted in the one-year closure of the problematic nightclub. The Chief said the club re-opened only after they presented their security plans to the City which required them to hire a Security Company to be on premises.
“That security company is the focus of the discussion today,” Kirkendall said. The Chief explained that Big Apple hired a company called BBN Security, short for Big Brother Nation Security.
“On the night of Oct. 23, we had a shooting and we had multiple calls go out about a shooting at Big Apple,” the Chief said. “Eleven of my officers arrived on scene. So, it took all our officers from across the city to respond to this one incident. As we arrived on scene the shooting was still taking place. There were guys in the middle of the parking lot still exchanging rounds.”
Kirkendall said his officers attempted to take control of the scene but the club’s lead bouncer, Devin King, confronted and took a threatening stance against one of his officers. Kirkendall said King had his shirt ripped off, was agitated, told officers he was handling the issue, and had a gun tucked into his pants.
“One individual was shot four times, another shot in the leg,” Kirkendall said. “So, we have two victims and this security guard wanting to play games and withhold information.”
The Chief said King kept trying to force his way into the crime scene, stepping over evidence. Kirkendall said they later viewed surveillance tapes which showed King inside the club, ripping off his shirt and yelling at several patrons, face-to-face, while not wearing a mask, against current COVID policies.
Kirkendall said those verbal arguments later spilled out into the parking lot, where the shootings took place.
He said his officers reported that King’s other two security guards were seen with AR-15 assault rifles slung across their backs. He said the men had retrieved them from their car.
As part of their investigation they set up a meeting with King but Kirkendall said he refused to identify the names of his security team that were there the night of the shooting, thereby obstructing a criminal investigation.
“Warrants have been secured for his arrest and he will be charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer,” the Chief said.
Kirkendall said other employees of BBN also refused to cooperate with the investigation. He added that the owner of Big Apple also refused to cooperate, prompting HPD to issue a warrant for his arrest as well.
The Chief said they have identified four shooters.
As they researched further, Kirkendall said his team discovered BBN Security does not have a business license to operate within the city. He also found out that are not authorized, bonded, or licensed to operate as required in the state of Georgia.
The Chief said the phone number that was being used for BBN has since been disconnected. He recommended the owners of Big Apple be brought before Mayor and Council within two weeks for a show cause hearing.
Councilman Jason Floyd asked if the council had the authority to shut down the club immediately. But City Attorney Linnie Darden said the city must provide the club an opportunity to come before the Mayor and Council at a show cause hearing.
Council members discussed the possibility of adding language to their codes stating that business owners, who hire security firms, must show that the firm is a legitimate business in compliance with state laws.
The Courier had reported about the shooting at Big Apple Oct. 29. According to an incident report filed by HPD Kiontaye Miller, HPD officers encountered a man identified as Darious Taylor running in the parking lot, stating he had been shot in his leg.
HPD Detective Tracy Howard said another man identified as Corrick K. Odum later showed up at Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville suffering from gunshot wounds.