Ten days following the shooting of three guests at a “Sweet Sixteen Party” at the Oakwood Clubhouse, there continues to be little information available from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) on the incident, the victims or the suspects.
Earle Farrell, the spokesman for the SCSO, said the offense report on the shooting has yet to be filed and the number of suspects has not been confirmed. Asked if it is typical that a report would not be filed more than a week following a crime, Mr. Farrell said, “Every case is different.”
As to the number and type of shell casings found at the shooting scene, he said only that “several shell casings were recovered.” Published reports indicate there were 25+ spent shell casings around the Clubhouse. A Lakeland resident and former law enforcement officer who stopped at the Oakwood Clubhouse shortly after the shooting described many of the shell casings in the parking lot as being 7.62mm, ammunition commonly used in AK-47 military-style rifles.
Other questions posed to Mr. Farrell, including the descriptions of suspects from those attending the party, were not answered. “Your other questions we are not going to address,” Mr. Farrell said.
Mayor Wyatt Bunker said he has no additional information regarding the Oakwood Clubhouse shootings, although he has been in touch with the SCSO.
“The Lakeland Board of Commissioners is somewhat perplexed by the lack of updates received from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “No one expects confidential information to be shared, but general updates are typically provided to City leaders as a means to reassure citizens of their diligence.”
Mayor Bunker said, “The only unsolicited briefings provided were those received the night of the incident.” He said he believes it would be helpful for Lakeland residents to have the opportunity to meet with representatives of the SCSO. Mayor Bunker said he has been working toward that end and is hopeful such a meeting can take place soon, although no date has been confirmed.
On Saturday (6.2.18), Mr. Farrell reported that each of the three juveniles shot at the birthday party had been released from the Regional Medical Center where they were taken for treatment of gunshot wounds to the back, buttocks and lower leg, respectively. He said they were expected to make a full recovery.
The shooting took place about 10:15 or 10:30 p.m. Saturday (5.26.18) when uninvited guests showed up at the birthday party and were denied admission to the clubhouse by relatives of the guest of honor, according to reports on social media.
Oakwood Homeowners Association rules stipulate the Clubhouse can be rented only by a resident of the subdivision who must be present for the event. There are conflicting reports on whether the Oakwood resident who rented the Clubhouse was present for the event. Some residents who believe the person may not have been present posted comments to that effect on the Facebook page for Oakwood residents.
That resident saw the comments posted about her and filed an intimidation complaint with the SCSO on May 30.
Mr. Farrell earlier said cars being sought in the investigation are a white Chrysler 200 and perhaps a dark blue or black Chevrolet Malibu.
A fourth victim from the party was injured from falling while trying to get away from the shooting. That victim was taken by private vehicle to another hospital.
Although there is suspicion the shootings may have come at the hand of gang members and that many party attendees were from Cordova and Germantown High Schools, Mr. Farrell could confirm neither.
Of the suspects, Mr. Farrell said, “Somebody knew these people. They didn’t just drive by this place. Someone at the party knows these people.”
Mr. Farrell said the SCSO looks at every possible aspect. “How did they find out about the party? How did they get there? This is all part of the investigation.”
Neighbors said shell casings were seen in the Clubhouse parking lot where indentations remain in the asphalt. There is additional damage to the Clubhouse including a bullet hole in a window.
A man posted on social media last week, saying he was there the entire time with the guest-of-honor’s uncle. He continued, “The entire family was there the whole time. Inside and outside.”
He added there were no problems inside or outside. No one arguing or upset. He said a lot of people were leaving. He said he started turning people away at 10:15 p.m. He was watching the entire time. Then, he said, all of a sudden shots rang out 15-feet in front of him.
A woman identified on the same FB page as being the wife of the man, who is a Memphis firefighter, denied reports the students shot were from Cordova or Germantown.