Vicksburg, MS (WLBT) -The City of Vicksburg will allow a popular venue for parties and events to re-open after being shut down twice in the past five months due to violence. Gunfire erupted inside The Tree House Banquet Hall on Cherry Street Friday.
“There are limited places to go here in town, especially for youth, so for this to happen, it just blew me away,” said Venue Owner Eric Lawson.
Eric Lawson owns Tree House Banquet Hall. Back in November, 3 on Your Side reported it was temporarily shut down by the city and police department after a fight reportedly broke out and shots were fired on the property.
Friday, Vicksburg police say this time violence broke out inside the building. According to police, 23-year-old Rickey Dewayne Larkins Jr. pulled out a gun and fired shots after getting into a fight during a party. He is charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling. Larkins bond is set at $20,000.
“We believe we have an obligation to make certain the public is safe in the city of Vicksburg,” said Mayor George Flaggs.
Mayor Flaggs, the board of aldermen and the police department say they shut the business down again because Lawson broke the safety agreement.
Wednesday, Lawson went before city leaders to get his business back open.
“The outcome is we are open again. I did everything and the Tree House did everything that was agreed upon by the city. They saw I did that,” said Lawson.
Mayor Flaggs says while the city has agreed to allow Lawson to reopen. Lawson will have to make some security upgrades in and outside his establishment to improve safety.
“I am going to do the in-ground metal detectors and I will choose the proper security. And nobody just relaxes, and I think that is what happened.
“He is willing to provide protection and there are some events he is not going to have any more, so I applaud him for that,” said Mayor Flaggs.