Breaking News
More () »

'Threat to public safety': Sheriff suspends Macon club's alcohol license after security guard shooting

The letter says the club is a threat to public safety due to the number of crimes there, and violated county ordinance because security cameras weren't working.

MACON, Ga. — The Bibb County Sheriff Office has suspended the alcohol license of a club where a 46-year-old security guard, Jermaine Stewart, was shot and later died.

13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha was actually at the Rodeo Bar & Grill when deputies arrived, delivering the shutdown letter to a man who says he’s the owner’s son. 

Sheriff David Davis's letter says the club is a threat to public safety due to the number of crimes there. The letter also says the Rodeo violated county ordinance because their security cameras weren't working, and didn't record the shooting.

"We need to be better about making sure that we're providing safe environments and taking that responsibility,” says Bibb County Commissioner Virgil Watkins Jr. 

He says he represents the area around Pio Nono Avenue. Watkins says the Rodeo has been around for a long time and has a violent history, which includes a similar shooting in 2017 that left a guard critically injured.

"When it comes to gun violence in our community, this was a rough, terrible weekend. Of course, the guard at the Rodeo lost his life trying to keep folks safe. It's horrible what's been happening out here,” Watkins explains. 

He says the county is doing its part to keep people safe by suspending the Rodeo's alcohol license for 90 days while they review what happened, the first reason being, "They have security cameras at the place, but they weren't recording. The law is that you need to have cameras recording and on file for 30 days if there's an incident. They should be able to review. Up under that rule, is why they're losing their license,” he says. 

The sheriff's letter says the other reason to suspend the Rodeo's alcohol license is due to several violent incidents reported there, including nine aggravated assaults, battery, automobile break-ins, and now, one murder.

"It's unfortunate that it's a business that will lose money, people won't be able to work, but I do think that it's part of the process. Businesses do have the responsibility to make sure that their patrons are safe. There are extra steps that can be taken whether that's increasing the security guards, increasing the presence. There are a lot of things clubs can do and we want to hold them accountable.”

Watkins says after 90 days, Rodeo's owners can ask county commissioners to restore the alcohol license. The county could do that, or it could revoke the license altogether, but he says it's too early to tell which way they're leaning.

Monday, the sheriff's office told us Stewart was shot around 4:30 Saturday morning after the bar asked some customers to leave. So far, nobody's been charged in his killing.

Before You Leave, Check This Out