47-year-old Bobby Ray Stewart, also known as Columbus rapper, HiWay, was shot and killed inside The Supper Club Saturday night, August 23, 2014.
According to the Ledger-Enquirer, Mr. Stewart was shot multiple times while inside The Supper Club on Buena Vista Road in Columbus, just after 11:30pm Saturday evening. He was transported to Midtown Medical Center where he perished from injuries at 12:17am Sunday morning.
Mr. Stewart was a member of COLuminati, a Columbus hip-hop organization for artists dedicated to creating positive music about peace, non-violence and encouragement. The Columbus community is now in mourning and seeking answers following the tragic death of Mr. Stewart, who fought to end such violence through his music.
Neighborhood resident Deborah Hendricks told media, “There is just too much violence around here and it is getting worse….It’s just not safe anymore.”
Indeed, the shooting marks the seventh Columbus homicide in August and comes less than a year after city officials promised to crackdown on nightclub crime. Unfortunately, the violence has persisted. A 21-year-old soldier was shot and injured at Carousel Lounge in June. Now, the death of Mr. Stewart, an advocate for peace, has many calling for justice and change.
Our Legal Take
The Murray Law Firm is following the horrific shooting closely and questions whether a fatal nightclub security lapse may have contributed to this tragedy.
What security measures, such as visible security guards, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, and bag checks, were implemented by The Supper Club owner and management to deter violence and protect patrons following the previous incidents of nightclub violence?
A sign over the nightclub door reads, “No Weapons Allowed” and threatens prosecution. Is this rule enforced by, nightclub security, metal detectors and bag inspections and, if so, how did these screening measures fail?
By law, Georgia nightclub owners have a duty to protect all patrons legally on their premises from any foreseeable harm. Should a nightclub owner have knowledge of previous violence on or near property, they have a duty to take extraordinary security measures to prevent against future crime. Should they fail in this duty, they may be held civilly liable for any injuries or deaths that occur as a consequence.
Given the history of nightclub violence in the Columbus area, the family of Bobby Ray Stewart may elect to hold the owner and management of The Supper Club/Club Andre’s civilly liable in his wrongful death. Of course, legal proceedings are of little concern to a grieving family. However, claims of this magnitude, potentially in the millions of dollars, will send a gravely-needed message to all Columbus nightclub owners and demand these owners finally make patron safety their first priority. Through these claims, perhaps many other young lives may be spared.
Photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene and surveillance footage will need to be performed on the family’s behalf before any evidence is repaired, damaged or destroyed. The Stewart family should retain an experienced premises liability firm without delay to ensure all evidence is properly preserved and their best interests are protected.
The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims of nightclub violence and negligence and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 706.494.2800. Consultations are free and confidential.