Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Crime scene tape is seen hanging off a pole, along 14th Street, in front of the Living Room at Coyote Jack's nightclub on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tenn. A fatal shooting happened at the location early Sunday morning.

This story was updated at 12:58 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 with more information.

Chattanooga police are investigating an early Sunday morning fatal shooting at Coyote Jack's nightclub. It's the third fatal shooting to take place on or near the venue since it opened its doors in 2015.

Nineteen-year-old Brandon Rogers was shot on the patio of Coyote Jack's nightclub in the 1400 block of Cowart Street at around 2:22 a.m. He was taken to a local hospital, where he later died. It was the first of two shootings Sunday morning.

Police were already on the scene for crowd control after fire marshals had begun to shut an event down, police said.

Facebook live video shows a large crowd gathered outside the club when two loud pops are heard before people begin screaming. Police are seen running to aid Rogers and begin life-saving measures while other officers attempt to keep the crowd at bay.

"Back up! Back it up!" officers are heard yelling, their voices breaking, as people continue to approach the scene.

"We're not able to help him because we're dealing with you!" another officer is heard yelling.

Several people have been detained for questioning, police spokesman Trevor Tomas said. No suspect has been confirmed.

Social media posts stating police shot the victim are incorrect, police Chief David Roddy said before releasing responding officers' body camera footage.

He said the department wanted to release the video quickly, as it was in the best interest of the community and the department "to get in front of that narrative" and stop it before it continued to spread.

Body camera footage shows police attempting to apply pressure to the victim's gunshot wound while being repeatedly interrupted by a crowd of people approaching Rogers' body despite being told to back away several times.

Police officers with the department's regulatory unit were checking on several late-night events in the area — something they regularly do on weekends — and found Coyote Jack's had exceeded its maximum occupancy early Sunday morning, Roddy said. It was shut down by police and fire marshals.

The officers asked for more patrol units to help with the expected increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic as people left the nightclub.

As patrons filed out, police were alerted to an altercation just outside the club. Officers went toward the fight when two shots were fired. At least one bullet struck Rogers, who was standing near multiple officers on the club's patio.

"Unfortunately, their proximity didn't [stop the violence]," Roddy said. "But they also immediately took action to try to save [Rogers'] life."

Yet, "for some reason, individuals felt the need to spread this story or this rumor" that police officers shot Rogers, he said.

Police hope that the same "energy, the passion that we've seen in individuals believing that a Chattanooga police officer did this, maybe they'll redirect that energy and help us figure out who did it," Roddy said.

Some already are.


Also on Sunday, an unrelated shooting was reported an hour later at 2:42 a.m. in the parking lot of 6925 Shallowford Road.

Over the course of that investigation, police determined both the victim, Dewayne Love, 37, and Tevin Davis, 27, were intoxicated, in possession of firearms and had "discharged them in a reckless manner." They're both facing criminal charges.

The Coyote Jack's homicide is at least the third fatal shooting to take place on or near the club's property.

The downtown nightclub, owned by Ronnie Berke and Tammy Taylor, opened its doors as Bella Vita restaurant in January 2015.

Berke, an attorney at Berke, Berke & Berke, is Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's uncle and works in the law firm with Andy Berke's father, Marvin Berke.

Before its 2016 rebranding, the club had seen two shootings — one of which was fatal.

On March 13, 2016, Reuben Simpson, 35, was shot in the head in the early morning on Cowart Street, near the restaurant. Police said his wounds were considered minor.

Two months later, 40-year-old Johnny Sanders, a security guard, was fatally shot in the upper chest at the location. Andrew Wilson, 31, was arrested in that case and charged with criminal homicide.

By mid-June, the venue announced a complete renovation, though a staff member said at the time that the remodeling had nothing to do with the shootings that happened earlier that year. Bella Vita had been open for just over a year.

It reopened as Coyote Jack's Saloon in December 2016.

But in May 2017, the club was put on lockdown after a shooting took place outside, according to WRCB-TV Channel 3. Police said a man fired multiple shots into the air, possibly toward a crowd of people and one at the side of the building.

Seven months later in December, a shooting left 22-year-old Sharone Porter dead and his brother, 24-year-old Torrie Porter, injured. A suspect, Roddarius Martin, 24, was charged with criminal homicide, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and felony reckless endangerment.

Then in July 2018, five people were injured in a shooting in the parking lot outside the club just before closing. A video of the incident was widely circulated on social media.

Earlier this year on Feb. 24 Rogers was arrested for firing shots while driving by the club.

Within about a week of the Feb. 24 shots-fired incident, the club announced plans for a second rebranding.



May 8, 2016: Johnnie Sanders, 40, is shot while working as a private security guard at Bella Vita, a restaurant on the Southside. Police say 31-year-old Andrew Wilson opened fire after Sanders kicked Wilson out of the club for being unruly. Sanders is the second man Wilson is accused of killing. Wilson was also charged with a 2013 homicide at another club.

Dec. 17, 2017: Sharone Porter, 22, and his brother Torrie Porter, 24, are shot outside Coyote Jack's nightclub, formerly known as Bella Vita. Sharone is taken to a local hospital where he dies shortly after. Investigators believe the incident precipitated from an argument inside the nightclub.

Non-fatal shootings:

March 13, 2016: A 35-year-old man is shot in the head in the early morning near Bella Vita. Police say his wounds are considered minor.

May 2017: The club is put on lockdown after a shooting took place outside, according to WRCB-TV Channel 3. Police say a man fired multiple shots into the air and possibly toward a crowd of people and one at the side of the building.

July 15, 2018: Five people are injured in a shooting in the parking lot just outside of the club just before closing. A video of the incident is widely circulated on social media.

Feb. 24, 2019: An 18-year-old is arrested for firing shots while driving by the club.

In a controversial Facebook post, then-general manager Daniel Weaver said the venue is getting a makeover that is a "necessary" change to make the club feel more safe and welcoming for everyone.

In the now-deleted post, Weaver said part of that change would mean that "all forms of urban music" no longer would be played, which some people on social media perceived as racist.

Weaver no longer works for the venue and directed comments to owners Taylor and Ronnie Berke. They have not returned multiple requests for comment. After previous incidents, management has made a point to distance itself from the violence, claiming the shootings all took place in the parking lot, which does not belong to the club.

Sunday's homicide took place on the club's patio.

In a statement, Mayor Andy Berke said, "I am concerned any time a life is lost to senseless gun violence and my heart breaks for the victim's family."

"The establishment where this incident occurred involves a family member of mine, and as I've stated previously, I have explicitly requested to Chief Roddy that I remain recused from any decision making whatsoever to prevent the appearance of favoritism or preferential treatment," he continued. "As I would with any venue, I have encouraged Chief Roddy to take any action necessary to ensure public safety. The safety of our community and the integrity of [the police department's] work are my top priorities."

During a news conference Sunday afternoon, Roddy said the department has begun conversations with the city attorney's office and the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office to determine what options there are to deal with the "conditions" of Coyote Jack's.

"We had conversations in 2018 about certain conditions that were supposed to be put forward relative to that location and the surrounding area. Some of that had to do with the increased security presence and cameras," he said. "And the question is, is were those conditions implemented, and were they maintained up to this point, and what are our options moving forward if they weren't?"

Contact Rosana Hughes at or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter@HughesRosana.