MARIETTA— The father of a man murdered at Milo’s Bar and Lounge a year ago is “elated” the business has been shut down.
Police say they have sent a “cease and desist” letter to the owner of Milo’s, and city officials have denied the renewal of the bar’s business license. The shutdown comes little more than a week after a shooting that marked at least the second time gunfire has broken out at the bar in the last year.
One man was hospitalized after a “large gun battle,” police said, on March 20 at the bar at the intersection of Powder Springs Street and Garrison Road about a mile from the Marietta Square.
Some shots were fired from the bar’s parking lot while others flew in the direction of Milo’s from another parking lot across Garrison Road. A bystander sitting in a car outside of Milo’s was hit during the gunfight and was treated for nonlife threatening injuries.
The name of the person hit by the bullets has not been released and no arrests have made.
That incident brought back terrible memories for Larry Terrell, whose 34-year-old son was killed at the bar almost a year ago.
“The night my son got killed, that took a part of me,” he said. “I’ve never been the same. I’m mean.
I’m just angry.” Tekilum Terrell of Sandy Springs was shot Sunday, April 7, 2013, at about 3 a.m. Marietta police found him lying in the parking lot after he stumbled out of the bar and had him taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, where he died after undergoing emergency surgery.
Three suspects were indicted in the shooting, including Trina Lesley Chatman, 37; Dennis Lee Hampton, 41; and Joseph Ricky Hampton, 48. Joseph and Dennis Hampton are cousins, and Joseph Hampton and Chatman are married. All three are awaiting trial.
‘They went on business as usual’
Larry Terrell says his son would still be alive if it weren’t for the bar’s lack of security. After his son was killed, he said, bar owners showed no remorse or sorrow.
“They went on business as usual when he got killed. The next day, it was just business as usual,” Larry Terrell said. “No one from Milo’s ever called me and said, ‘Hey man, I’m sorry about what happened.’” He wishes the city had decided to shut down the bar sooner and said it may have prevented the March shooting, but he hopes closing Milo’s will save a life.
“If it had stayed open, I guarantee you it would’ve been someone else getting shot,” Larry Terrell said. “Someone else getting killed. Someone else’s mom or dad being heart broken.”
Chief: Milo’s had ‘patterns of threats’
Milo’s business license expired Monday, and because of what police called a “mounting number of serious incidents,” the city has denied a license renewal.
Police say the cease and desist letter was sent to Quantria Barnes, the most recent holder of Milo’s business license, stating all business activity should have ended by midnight on Monday. The business has the right to appeal that decision to Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton and then to City Council, but no appeals had been filed by Tuesday afternoon. Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn said he takes recommending denial of a business-license renewal seriously. It’s a route that he says requires due process and proof there is a pattern of threats to public safety.
“In the case of Milo’s, we have reached that point,” Flynn said. It’s not unusual for police to respond multiple times to a bar, but he said the calls that came from Milo’s weren’t just about intoxicated patrons.
A litany of calls and complaints
Between Feb. 11, 2011, and March 20, 2014, police say they have responded to 49 incidents at Milo’s that required officers to complete reports. Seven of those were larcenies, two were motor vehicle thefts, two were drug offenses, six were hitand- run car wrecks and 14 involved violence, including multiple aggravated assaults by firearm. That number also includes the fatal shooting of Tekilum Terrell.
Flynn said the owners of Milo’s knew about the problems at the bar but didn’t address them.
“They’re well aware that there has been a course of conduct that has been causing the police’s concern,” Flynn said.
No one answered calls to the phone number listed for Milo’s on Tuesday.
A Facebook post on the page for Milo’s said, “Breaking news as of Tuesday April the 1st Milo’s Bar & Lounge will no longer be in business, it has been a great 5 years minus the Death of Big Tee & shooting of ‘Eugene Bigg Byrdonthebeat’ this pass Wednesday I have had a great time. I had a meeting today with the city of Marietta and they told me its been to much b/s taking place in the last few weeks. So I would like to say thanks for all the love and support all u good people has showed me and I will continue to play a positive role in my community. ... Once again thanks and I love all of u. King milo. (sic)”
Council supports denial
It’s not the first time Marietta Police has closed a troublesome night spot.
Runaround Sues, which once operated on Church Street Extension, had its business license revoked as part of a plea deal made after being given a citation.
Police were called out once, Flynn said, when a foam party, in which participants dance covered in soap suds, got out of hand.
“We knew that we had a continuing course of problems there when our officers on our morning watch kept getting called to large very rowdy crowds,” Flynn said. Another club on Franklin Road, called the Q Club Saloon, was also shut down after it became a drain on police resources.
Flynn said it’s not that police are making an effort to close rowdy bars. They’re just keeping an eye on establishments that have a high number of 911 calls.
“Anything that is a threat to public safety, we’re going to work on,” Flynn said.
Though City Council does not have to sign off on the denial of the business license and will only step in if an appeal is filed, council members expressed support on Tuesday for the decision to shut down the bar.
Mayor Steve Tumlin said it was the right thing to do.
“It gets to where, I don’t know if we can use the word nuisance, but it just wreaks havoc for the area,” Tumlin said.
“It’s something I wish we didn’t see in Marietta,” said Councilman Stuart Fleming.
Councilman Johnny Walker agreed.
“I think it’s a magnet for crime,” Walker said. “I can’t stand it.”
Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly also praised the police department’s decision.
“If it will prevent any type of tragic shooting, then I support it,” Kelly said.