Lotus Lounge in Greensboro closed for good after fatal shooting

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Greensboro bar that a man was shot and killed near over the weekend is now closed for good.

“A tragedy, unfortunately, led to it,” said Zack Matheny, president of Downtown Greensboro Incorporated.

Paul Talley announced on Thursday that he has chosen to immediately close the Lotus Lounge at 120 W. Lewis St. and sell the property.

One man was killed and another arrested after a shooting outside the bar early Sunday morning.

“We lost a young man, and that`s not lost on anybody,” Matheny said.

Jermaine Marqel Couch, of Greensboro, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the death of Patrick Simmons, 19, of Ahoskie, N.C.

Police said they saw a disturbance in the Railyard parking lot at the end of West Lewis Street as people left the Lotus Lounge (sometimes called Club Lotus) shortly after 2 a.m.

As the officers approached the disturbance, they heard a gunshot and found the victim on the ground, according to police.

The victim was taken to Moses Cone Hospital by emergency responders where he was pronounced dead.

Officers immediately developed suspect information and were able to find and stop a vehicle leaving the scene, according to police.

Police have not released a motive in the shooting.

This is the second time in nine months that a violent incident has happened at that club. In November 2014, a man was stabbed in the neck.

Also, last November in the same area, Greensboro police were involved in a shootout, where the people involved had reportedly left the Lotus Lounge.

“Despite efforts of the owner of the club, there were just continual violent incidents,” said Mark Gibb who owns Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company across the street.

Gibb and other business owners in the neighborhood have had between three to four meetings about safety near the club.

“There was nothing that could be done but to shut it down,” Gibb said.

The city released the following statement about the fatal shooting over the weekend:

“We consider any incident of violence anywhere in our city to be unacceptable," says Greensboro City Manager Jim Westmoreland. "Unfortunately, a young man lost his life due to a senseless act of violence and we take these issues very seriously. I’m thankful for the quick response and ongoing efforts of our police department. I want to reassure our residents and downtown property owners that everyone is working hard to investigate this tragic incident and we will continue to work together to find solutions to reduce these problems in the future.”

The following is the entire statement released by Talley, who owned the bar:

"I am truly saddened by the events of this past weekend in the parking lot near Lotus Lounge. Needless loss of life is incomprehensible to me. I had safeguards in place to ensure patron safety but this event took place beyond anyone’s reach. As part of our security program Lotus employed several off duty Greensboro police officers. These officers, as well as several on duty officers, were within mere feet of this tragedy.

With that being said I understand that I have a civic responsibility to assist with the re-birth of downtown Greensboro. I also have responsibility to protect my neighbors, fellow business owners and nearby developers from this sort of abhorrent behavior. It is with these responsibilities in mind that I have made the difficult decision to sell the property that houses Lotus and voluntarily close it immediately. Once this real estate transaction takes place the business will be permanently closed.

While I appreciate all of the words of encouragement I have received over the past few days, the real focus here should be on the victim, his family and all of the families that suffer as a result of senseless violence.”

AZ Development will purchase the property. They released the following statement:

Through open communication and respectful dialogue, Mr. Talley has accepted a contract to purchase the property from AZ Development, LLC owner Andy Zimmerman. Andy Zimmerman stated, “AZ Development is very excited about the potential uses that 120 W Lewis Street has to compliment the redevelopment of the area of South Elm Street. We expect to close on the property in November.”

As with any news regarding investment in downtown, we are excited about the future for downtown Greensboro. We also appreciate Mr. Talley’s interest in furthering the growth of downtown including his two other business located on Elm Street. We also applaud Andy Zimmerman’s and his continued investment in downtown Greensboro and Lewis Street.

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