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Gang activity suspected in 20 Down fight
Jul 21, 2006 12:00 am
Suspected gang activity shook up patrons at a Lebanon teen club Saturday night and may have resulted in the club's permanent closure.
A scuffle believed to have started inside the club spread outside the building on Highway 109, requiring officers from Lebanon and Mt. Juliet police departments as well as Wilson County Sheriff's deputies to respond sometime after 10 p.m. Saturday night, Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said.
Public Safety Commissioner Billy Weeks said officers broke up the scuffle – in which included people were flashing gang signs – dispersed the 200-plus crowd away from the club.
No arrests were made and no injuries were reported. But as of Monday, the club's Web site, www.twentydown.com, says the facility – which admits only teens ages 20 and under – is "now closed."
Weeks explained Lebanon police received a call about possible shots fired at the club, where off-duty Lebanon police officers were typically stationed. The off-duty officers provided extra security measures for the club via a contract, Bowen explained.
However, last week was the first week officers were not at the club, saying the club owner cancelled the agreement, Bowen said.
While Weeks said he does not see this as a sign of gang activity coming in Lebanon on any kind of large scale, he said Nashville police have informed him of rising gang activity in Hermitage.
"There's a lot of gang activity going on in the Hermitage area from what I understand," Weeks said, "… and we're not going to have them push them here. … I doubt very seriously they were all local kids.
"… It's not been a big concern of ours, but obviously this was. It's unfortunate, but we'll just have to deal with it."
Weeks expressed disappointment the incident could result in the club's closure.
"(The owner) has been trying to run a very clean, very safe club, and I think the guy's just disappointed … he's not going to stand for it … they've had these clubs over in the Hickory Hollow area and had to close them because of this mess … "
20 Down management could not be reached for comment.
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 45 or by e-mail at email@example.com.