Teen fires shot into crowd near Beale Street

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis police arrested a man for shooting a gun just feet from Beale Street near the intersection of Rufus Thomas and Peabody Saturday night. It happened outside of the area where police use metal detectors.

Mike Dinwiddie, the General Manager of South Philly on Peabody Place, was at his restaurant Saturday night when he saw trouble in the making at around 10:30.

"We actually opened the door because we saw a fight, we opened the door to watch and there were police officers there," Dinwiddie said. "All of a sudden we hear three pops, one pop then two pops. Of course we slammed the door and kind of backed away....I saw one of the police officers drop his bike and chase the guy."

Officers managed to catch 19 year old Melvin Bridgewater. An affidavit says before the shooting an officer saw Bridgewater in what appeared to be a hand to hand drug transaction. When officers were within five feet of Bridgewater, he pointed a revolver into a crowd of 500 people and shot one time.

"They (police) were on it immediately," Dinwiddie said. "Which was surprising because they were there and someone pulled out a gun. It sounds ludicrous to me to do it right in front of an officer they fired the shots."

Dinwiddie says this isn't the first time he's heard shots fired near Beale Street.

"What scares me, is when you have a large group. A stray bullet into a crowd of 2,000 that's bad news.

Dinwiddie says tougher security on Beale Street including metal detectors may be moving problems to streets like this Peabody Place.

But he isn't sure if metal detectors on more streets in the entertainment district is the answer.

"Where do you draw the line? I don't want to be searched when I come to work everyday. But if it keeps people safe, maybe there is something that should be done."

Fortunately no one was hit by the gunshot. While police chased Bridgewater they tried to dislodge his weapon with a baton. Once they caught him he fought with several officers before being handcuffed. He's now facing multiple charges.

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