Richmond nightclub where man was murdered has violent history

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Nearly 200 people endured terrifying moments inside a Richmond nightclub early Monday morning when gunshots sent them running from the building.

A fleeing woman was hit by a car, and a man was left dead on the dance floor. The shooting is not the first murder at or near 6346 Midlothian Turnpike.

Digging into the 8News archives, reporter Matthew McClellan found reports on three shooting incidents in as many years. Two of them were deadly. Illusions Night Club, the scene of the January 18 shooting, shares a building with Richmond Inn and Suites.

“We have four off-duty officers who were here at the time (of the shooting),” said Richmond Police spokesman Gene Lepley. “I don’t know if changes have been made after other incidents occurred here in the past.”

In April 2015 an officer shot and injured a man outside the building after the suspect pointed a gun at police. In August 2014, 58-year old Chong Han was shot and killed at the same place. Around the same time in 2013, police found 18-year old Zekei Johnson dead in his car with a gunshot wound. At that time, the venue was called The Q Club.

“We’re doing the best we can as a law enforcement agency,” said Chief Alfred Durham. “But we need people to give these folks up who have these guns, because we’re seeing the results of people having illegal firearms.”

Richmond City Council President Michelle Mosby represents the district. She said it is time to get serious about what is happening at the crime-prone club and attached hotel.

“What we need to do is work on what’s happening inside the building,” Mosby told 8News. “(The) Richmond Police Department was not part of the check-in (at Illusions Night Club) but we’ve got to fix the loopholes.”

8News tried making contact with management at Illusions Nightclub but did not get a response. Police identified the victim in the January 18 shooting as 21-year old Jerquell Cheatham. They have not identified a suspect or motive in the shooting. Anyone with information that could lead to an arrest is asked to call CrimeStoppers.

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