Michael Jackson had a nagging premonition in the weeks and months leading up to a shooting that left one man dead and another injured on the parking lot of the Brick House, a local nightclub that Jackson owns.
His unsettling thoughts and concerns were driven by shooting massacres that had occurred across the country in recent years and left dozens of people injured and dead.
The June 12, 2016, shooting in Orlando, Florida. The July 1, 2017, shooting at a nightclub in Little Rock. The Oct. 1, 2017, shooting during a country music festival in Las Vegas. The Nov. 5, 2017, shooting during worship services at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
“I was looking around and seeing what was happening in the world, and I had a feeling that something could potentially happen here,” Jackson said.
On Oct. 26, tragedy struck across town when a Smackover man, 30-year-old Cory Goodwin, was fatally shot during an altercation with another man at Hotshots Sports Bar and Grill on Timberlane.
Eric Morrison, 28, of Hot Springs, is being held in the Union County Jail on a $1 million bond for first-degree murder.
Jackson’s anxieties escalated after hearing of the shooting at Hotshots.
He acknowledged that violent incidents, some involving guns, had occurred at the Brick House in the past, but none had resulted in death.
Jackson and his security team work to defuse arguments and fights that begin inside the club, largely by kicking out the aggressors and keeping the opposing parties inside until the aggressors leave the area.
News from Hotshots left him wondering what he could do to prevent such a tragedy from striking at the Brick House.
Unfortunately, less than a month after the fatal shooting at Hotshots, a similar tragedy befell the Brick House.
Corey D. Tate, 44, allegedly shot two men on the parking lot on Nov. 19.
Thirty-two-year-old Brandon M. Sanders died, and his friend, Casey Frazier, 33, was seriously injured with a gunshot wound to the leg.
Tate is being held in the Union County Jail on a $1 million bond on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a certain person and a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a penalty enhancement.
Exploring alternative measures
“I was like, man, this can’t be happening. There was a small crowd there that night,” Jackson recalled. “There was a minor altercation. No punches were thrown, there was no physical contact, so when it happened, it caught me out of the blue.”
Jackson declined to provide further details about the incident, citing an ongoing investigation by the El Dorado Police Department.
"Even after a week or two, it still didn’t seem like it happened. It was like a dream. Everyone was having a good time, and then this …,” Jackson said. “I had no idea it would happen. There were no signs that it would lead to this.”
Because of his increasingly uneasy feelings about the potential of violence at the Brick House, Jackson reached out to local law enforcement agencies for help prior to Nov. 19.
“The past few months, I had been exploring alternative security measures, and boom, this happened,” Jackson said.
He said the EPD and the Union County Sheriff’s Office told him they do not allow officers to work off-duty security at nightclubs.
“It left me wondering what to do,” Jackson said.
“We don’t do it. We never have done it because of the conflict,” said Capt. Kevin Holt, public information officer for the EPD.
Holt pointed to the serving of alcohol and large crowds that can make for an unsafe situations for officers who are outnumbered.
He said the EPD is generally asked to assist on the parking lot, noting that it is the responsibility of the establishment to provide adequate security and to follow applicable laws, rules and regulations.
“There are some agencies in different cities that work with a lot more guidelines because of the ratio, the number of officers they can provide and the number of people in attendance,” Holt said.
Jackson confirmed that local law enforcement agonies informed him that other agencies in surrounding areas may provide the type of assistance he had been requesting.
The Nov. 19 shooting left Jackson shaken for more reasons than one.
He was planning to contact other law enforcement agencies.
He was also continuing long-running efforts to launch a nonprofit organization, Brothers Making Changes, to help set teens and young adults on a successful life path and prevent them from making impulsive, harmful decisions that could adversely impact the rest of their lives and the lives of others.
The owner of several businesses and a concert promoter, the effort had been delayed due to a hectic schedule, Jackson said.
In a social media post on Sept. 21, 2017, Jackson apologized for the delay in getting BMC off the ground.
He promised further details and a firm launch date in October.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, the start time was pushed back to November, he said.
Still, other priorities crept in, causing Jackson to postpone the launch date again.
Jackson had intended to begin biweekly meetings at the Brick House in the fall of 2017,
The goal was to linking teens and young adults to mentors and resources to help them succeed in life and to think about the consequences of negative actions.
“I can’t help feeling that if I had started it when I said I would, this probably could have been prevented,” Jackson said, referring to the Nov. 19 shooting.
“When I kept thinking that something was going to happen, I feel like it was the Lord saying, ‘OK, I had this protective shield around you, but since you won’t do what I told you to do, I’m going to remove that protective shield,’” Jackson continued with a plaintive tone in his voice.
Stop the Violence
A Stop the Violence and Celebration of Lost Loved Ones Gathering, presented by Brothers Making Changes, is set from 2 until 5 p.m. today on the parking lot of the Brick House, 1814 Junction City Road.
It will be the first major event to be held at the club in the new year.
The gathering will include a live DJ, free food, bouncy houses and guest speakers. The event is free and open to the public.
Those who plan to attend are asked to wear commemorative, rest-in-peace T-shirts to honor loved ones and to be included in video footage of the event.
Brothers Making Changes has presented similar events at other sites, including Mattocks Park.
Jackson said he has not opened the Brick House for regular activities this year because he wanted to move the event to the club and start 2018 with an uplifting event and message there.
The public is invited to attend the gathering.
“It’s for people who have experienced a loss to get together and talk about their loved ones. The main focus is violence, but it’s also for people who have lost their live due to illness or an accident. Just come out,” he said.
Jackson said he is also reviving efforts to prepare for the debut of Brothers Making Changes.
For more information, call Jackson at 870-866-7441.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or by email at tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.