By Maddi Dolan
In the early morning hours of Monday, Jan. 24, shots were fired on the sidewalk outside the Eden Downtown nightclub on North Franklin Street. The shooting left two men hospitalized due to their gunshot wounds.
According to the Tampa Bay Times and Fox 13, police said the shooting occurred moments after a man was removed by security after an altercation took place inside the club. Both men involved in the shooting are expected to recover, but many students that are a part of the UT community are left feeling on edge after the incident.
“I’m definitely scared after what happened at Eden. Especially since I live so close,” said Emma Sinuc, junior allied health major. “One of the people shot was just a bystander, so that could have been anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Sinuc lives in downtown Tampa at The Henry, which is less than a block away from Eden. Sinuc, who lives on the 11th floor of the apartment building, was woken up by the sound of gunfire when the shooting began early Monday morning.
“At around 1:10 a.m. I heard five gunshots go off,” said Sinuc. “I looked outside and I just saw people running from the direction of Eden. Probably 30 seconds later I heard four more shots.”
Sinuc said that police arrived at the scene a few minutes later.
“I definitely think there needs to be extra precautions,” said Sinuc. “They should check bags and coats before anyone can enter. Something to make sure people can’t bring weapons into bars or clubs.”
Sinuc, who had been to Eden before, said she is hesitant to return.
“If I do return, I only would if I knew they took steps to make it safer,” said Sinuc.
A night spent out at a nightclub or bar is typically a relaxing and fun evening, not one spent stressing about the possibilities of a shooting. While gun violence may seem unavoidable, there are measures businesses can take to help prevent shootings from happening.
Businesses can conduct bag checks, use metal detector wands to identify possible weapons, hire trained security and install security cameras.
Jason Wood, Manager of The Eden Downtown nightclub, said that the club does take precautions to ensure the safety of their guests.
“We hire off-duty officers on busy weekend nights, we use wands, we do pat-downs and bag checks,” said Wood.
According to Wood, after the shooting occurred, the club was painted in a bad light.
“We want to keep our guests safe, that’s our number one priority,” said Wood. “We want our guests to keep coming back, and we know they wouldn’t if they felt unsafe.”
Wood said that the shooting was an outside incident between one gentleman who had been removed from the club, and another gentleman who never entered the club, just a bystander on the street. He said that it was out of the club’s control since it was an altercation that took place on the sidewalk, not inside the venue.
“We are taking precautions to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” said Wood. “We want people to feel safe here.”
Photo Courtesy of WFLA