Aunsharia Moss was killed after being shot while sitting in a car at T&W Cafe Lounge Inc.
THOMSON - The McDuffie County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday night to revoke the alcoholic beverage license of the T&W Cafe Lounge.
The 2-1 vote came after the board was presented with evidence, including photographs, depicting people under the age of 21 possessing alcohol on club's premises. Several residents submitted depositions claiming to have witnessed acts of underage drinking, drug use, and the failure of security guards to check all patrons for proper identification.
Commissioner Sammie Wilson abstained from voting for "family reasons"; Bob Farr was the sole vote to retain the license, saying revocation was "too harsh."
"My heart goes out to both sides, but I can only take the evidence presented and make my judgment on that," said Commissioner Darrell Wester.
The nightclub has faced relentless criticism since the death of Aunsharia Moss, a 14-year-old Thomson High School student hit by a stray bullet in the club's parking lot during a shootout on New Year's Day.
Owner and license-holder Freddie Taylor, along with his brother Charlie, denied the claims that there was underage drinking and drug use inside the T&W Cafe Lounge. "We (the T&W) do more good than bad. They (the patrons) got fake IDs. Security does ask for IDs. It's hard to tell the difference," said Charlie Taylor.
Debra Moss, Aunsharia's aunt, recalled when she last visited the T&W.
"Outside the club was a fight, and that's when I decided to leave," she said. "(Security) just stood there."
Freddie Taylor, who had earlier refused to comment, said he was unaware of any underage persons in his establishment. "If you saw someone under 21, why didn't you tell us?" he asked Moss.
Other allegations brought against the club included security guards possessing alcohol while on duty, as well as Freddie Taylor himself serving alcohol to people under 21 years of age.
Local residents representing both sides of the issue spoke out at the hearing. One of them was Louis Dunn, who thought that going after T&W's alcoholic beverage license wasn't a good idea.
"This is a community issue. We're looking everywhere, but we're not looking at ourselves. We need to deal with the root of the problem," she said.
"The solution is not taking away their entertainment," Dunn said. "Our teens are still at risk."
After the hearing, commissioners took just 15 minutes to render a decision to revoke the club's alcoholic beverage license - primarily because of the charges of underage patrons being allowed into the restaurant, said County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton.
The club has a long history of criminal activity, dating back to 1992 when a man was murdered on T&W property. According to the McDuffie County Sheriff's office, police have responded to at least 31 incidents at the club since 1998.
Two men have been arrested on charges related to Aunsharia's fatal shooting. Freddie Taylor, who refused to speak to reporters after the hearing, gave no indication whether he would continue to operate T&W Cafe Lounge without an alcoholic beverage license.
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