Rendezvous manager addresses city council after reports of violence at establishment

Rendezvous manager addresses city council after reports of violence at establishment
On Wednesday, we heard from the Rendezvous Lounge manager for the first time since a series of violent incidents at the sports bar earlier this month. (Source: WALB)
"To watch the news and it be called a trouble spot, I've never heard that before," said Ferlin Gatlin, Rendezvous manager. (Source: WALB)
"To watch the news and it be called a trouble spot, I've never heard that before," said Ferlin Gatlin, Rendezvous manager. (Source: WALB)

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - On Wednesday, WALB heard from the Rendezvous Lounge manager for the first time since a series of violent incidents at the sports bar earlier this month.

Our initial story sparked many questions about how the city determines what a 'trouble spot' is, and how they should regulate them.

"To watch the news and it be called a trouble spot, I've never heard that before," said Ferlin Gatlin, Rendezvous manager.

Those are the words from the club's manager, aimed at WALB after our coverage of three incidents earlier this month.

More than three gunshots were fired on April 9 while police were on scene responding to another incident.

Police told WALB it put them and the rest of the community in danger.

You can hear fear and frustration from officers' body camera footage, released to WALB by Thomasville Police.

"It was 'pop, pop, pop.' I just started covering, scanning the crowd. What's it going to take? What's it going to take? I don't know. Something has to be done," said officers on body camera.

"To me, it's unfair that the media can put things out and don't have any consequence for what they say," said Gatlin.

The official reports that WALB used for the story were taken by Thomasville police officers who responded to Rendezvous on the night of the incident, the documents detailing what officers saw and were told by witnesses at the club.

These same reports also show this night was not the first time shots have been fired outside the lounge.

Thomasville police records from January of 2017 to last December show two separate shootings at Rendezvous, one in May and another in October.

No one was hurt in either incident.

Only two other alcohol businesses in Thomasville reported frequent police calls during 2017.

Seven fights were reported at The Plaza Restaurant on Broad Street between January and December of 2017. Four fights were reported at Applebee's on Highway 19, along with a non-fatal stabbing in November of last year. Neither business had any reports of gunfire during the year.

"To see over a whole week span every day it was something new, no consequences. Why choose us?" asked Gatlin.

The frustration from Gatlin's is his issue being brought to the attention of the city council.

Council members said the purpose of calling the meeting is to get clarity about what happened and how to move forward so citizens stay safe.

But the workshop ended without an answer to the question at hand.

"Is it a problem? And the ordinance clearly states how it is a trouble spot. As of right now, from 2017, I personally couldn't identify if it is a trouble spot." said Thomasville Police Chief Troy Rich.

WALB reached out to Gatlin on Thursday at the number listed for Rendezvous for additional comment, and so he can look at the police reports himself. Our calls were not returned.

You can read the reports below:

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