The shooting death of a customer in the parking lot of Cloud IX Hookah Bar and Lounge at 3807 Gallatin Pike — the second in less than a year, has rocked a quiet, East Side neighborhood and renewed community efforts to have the club shuttered as a public nuisance. Area residents and business owners are now demanding Metro Council padlock the club.
Their position is bolstered by recent reports from Metro Nashville Police Department, which has answered at least 12 calls for assistance at Cloud IX since the bar opened in May. But those calls are just the tip of a very large iceberg, according to MNPD spokesman Kristin Mumford.
“Year to date, we have conducted 106 proactive engagements at Cloud IX and the adjacent properties,” Mumford says. “As issues arise, citizens are encouraged to contact the police.”
The Dec. 10 shooting death of Jason McClain is just one more example of why the bar has to go, according to local landlord John Harris, who owns rental property adjacent to the Cloud IX property. “I have dealt extensively over the last nine or 10 months with numerous issues at Cloud IX, working with local police, Metro Council, and area residents,” Harris says. “I’ve just received tremendous feedback from the community via phone calls, email,
The stories Harris hears are all the same: Residents and businesses are faced each night with a steady barrage of noise, violence that frequently spills outside, and crowds of customers that far-outstrip the club’s posted capacity. Then, neighbors awake the next morning to litter in the street and cars parked illegally, which creates its own problems.
Harris recalls one incident in which he and a tow truck operator were approached by a man from Cloud IX who demanded they stop towing vehicles. The man then flashed a gun tucked in the waistband under his shirt. Harris is disturbed that two shooting deaths have occurred in the parking lot since the club opened, and he sees it as part of an escalating pattern of violence at Cloud IX.
The most recent incident began when guards at the club asked McClain to leave. “McClain refused and was escorted out of the bar by security at 12:45 a.m.,” an MNPD news release states. “McClain allegedly retrieved a handgun from his pickup truck and fired at the security guards. He was fatally wounded during an exchange of gunfire with them.”
Investigators determined that the May 13 shooting death of Nigel Phill was a justifiable homicide, and no charges were filed. Metro continues to investigate McClain’s death as a homicide, though the security guards have asserted the shooting was self-defense, according to the release issued in the wake of the shooting.
Meanwhile, property owners Ben and Ann Mitchell have filed papers to evict the owner of Cloud IX, saying the bar owes them more than $175,000 in back rent. That matter is set to go before the courts on Jan. 4, 2018.
Cloud IX owner Erica Fenton could not be reached for comment, and calls to an attorney representing the Mitchells were not returned.