Safety At Tyler Nightclub Questioned

A 17-year-old man was shot to death outside a Tyler nightclub early Sunday and a local business owner says he saw it coming.

The shooting happened at "Club Alize" on Watson Street in southwest Tyler. The club has just been open since November, but it has a long list of problems.

It was around one Sunday morning when authorities say an argument inside the club spilled out into the parking lot. Shots were fired and 17-year-old Felix Nwanonyiri was hit. He died at a local hospital.

Ken McLean owns "Teaser Gentlemen's Club", located just down the street. He said he wasn't surprised by the news.

"We knew there was going to be trouble because you've got so many of them going in after hours after the other clubs close when they ain't supposed to be any booze."

He said late night drinking at the club as well as large crowds have led him to call police more than 30 times. Tyler Police records show since December, police have responded to 29 calls ranging from aggravated assault to disturbances and even issues with crowd control. Tyler Police Sergeant Bill Goecking admits the area is one of the city's trouble spots.

"There were quite a few assaults, of course we recently had a murder out there... for a one block stretch, a street of Tyler, that's an awful lot of activity."

He said their enforcement does have its limits.

"Whenever you have a public street that gives access to private property what the people use this private property for is one of the freedoms that we have in this country."

He said police will step up patrols and put more pressure on the club's owner to clean things up.

"The property owner has to listen to what we say because if he doesn't one of the problems you have in the city of Tyler is you can consider the property a nuisance."

That could shut the club down for good. McLean admits not everyone agrees with the type of business he runs, but said he just wants to do what's right. Attempts to contact club owner Jerry McGee were unsuccessful. The alleged murder is the first in Tyler this year.

Chris Gibson, reporting