The Elk’s Charity Lodge in Muskegon is addressing concerns about the shooting that broke out there early Sunday morning.
Jacolby Brown and Dupree Barns were shot to death outside of the club while Jalisa Love was shot, then run over and killed by a fleeing vehicle.
“I feel terrible,” said Exulted Ruler of Lodge 1397, Jethro Gay, JR. “My heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and the loved ones that were lost.”
Gay and Financial Secretary, Robert Roundtree, said that evening, they had lent the building to the family and friends of Julius Johnson.
He was killed about four years ago by police following an altercation.
His family wanted to use the lodge to host a memorial party to raise money for a proper grave marker for him.
“The family has come to us to ask for help in different fundraising events to try to pay for funeral costs, tombstones and things of that nature,” said Roundtree.
Roundtree explained that was how the charity club mainly operated.
He said they give back to the community by giving the lodge space to those who request it, but can’t afford to rent.
Gay and Roundtree also explained what happened when the bullets began to fly that evening.
Robert said he was there that night with other “volunteer members” who man the club and provide some sort of security, but said beyond that he couldn’t discuss much about the case.
They declined to comment on allegations that a fight had broken out inside the club between two women prior to the violence that erupted outside the club.
Both men said the bar was shut down inside when the violence erupted, thus they are not responsible for it.
“The building was closed and emptied at 1:45 (am). To my knowledge all the events took place outside of the building and away from our property,” said Gay.
When asked if he was responsible for any outside security, Gay said, “Property only…Parking lot that way, parking lot that way.”
When asked if the victims were found in their parking lot, Gay said, “Straight. They went straight.”
When asked if the club was responsible for any injuries, Gay replied, “The city,”
We asked him if the city was responsible and he replied, “I don’t know. I don ‘t have an answer for that one. So, I’m not going to elaborate on that one.”
Business owners say there has been trouble on the property before for quite some time, something he also addressed.
“I don’t have an answer for that one, I don’t know. That’s hearsay and I’m not going to elaborate on hearsay. People saying that, they need to come forward and do something about it.”
Gay also claimed that someone at the club had called 911 prior to the shooting and he said the 911 lines were busy.
“Police was called at 2:01 for crowd control. Lines was busy twice. That’s when everything went down was between those two calls. I wasn’t here, so I don’t know.”
We called the Executive Director of Muskegon County Dispatch for comment and he did not get back to us as of Tuesday evening.
The lodge says they are suspending activities for the time being.
Roundtree says it’s a shame because they had to postpone an event involving a baby shower for a woman who needed the space.
He also says they are cooperating with law enforcement.