Mother of shooting victim wants local lounge closed
TUSCALOOSA – The mother of a man who was shot outside Spades Restaurant and Lounge last week wants the business shut down.
Yulondra Rhone spoke before the Tuscaloosa City Council on Tuesday, pleading with council members to close Spades because of safety reasons.
“I had to get a call from my daughter, thousands and thousands of miles away in another country, that my son had been shot,” Rhone said. “That’s probably the second-worst feeling you can get.”
Rhone said her son Tyler and the man accused of shooting him should not have been allowed inside because the club says on social media that it only allows in patrons 25 or older at night. Rhone’s son and the suspect, Corey Lewis, are 24 years old.
Rhone’s son was an innocent bystander, caught by a stray bullet during an argument that turned violent outside the restaurant.
It’s not the first time the business has been the site of violence.
In March, police were called there after reported gunshots and found more than a half-dozen cars riddled with bullets.
Before it was Spades, the business was known as Good Times Club and was shut down after community complaints by the council.
“Everybody doesn’t get a second chance at life,” Rhone said. “Until you get a phone call, it doesn’t hit your home until it hits your home. Don’t shut it down because Ms. Rhone is standing right here and her son barely made it out. Somebody else’s child isn’t going to make it out.”
Rhone said her son lives in Houston, Texas, and was visiting her in Uniontown when he decided to visit the club with his sister.
Tyler Rhone also spoke at the meeting, walking up to the podium with the help of a cane.
“It was a hard night,” he said. “Seeing everyone just looking at me bleed out, calling and asking for help, knowing I have three kids I have to raise.”
Tyler Rhone said he’s a veteran who served in the Army for four and a half years. In that time, he’d never been shot. Until he went to Spades.
“I came here to see my kids, to spend time with my sister,” Tyler Rhone said. “Never have I had to fight for my life. I fought for you guys’ lives. I never had to fight for my own.”
Tyler Rhone said no one from the club made any attempt to help him before an ambulance arrived.
“I didn’t do anything wrong that night besides coming to the club,” he said. “I didn’t know the age limit or anything.”
He said he’s looking at at least a year of recovery time after the shooting, alongside many, many hospital bills.
Spades’ owner LaQuitan Toney and others affiliated with the restaurant also spoke at the meeting, saying the lounge employs extra security and discourages underage patrons from entering the business.
While the restaurant advertises as being 25 and up, there’s no law requiring it to adhere to that rule.
The shooting took place outside in the parking lot.
Toney offered apologies to the Rhones.
“It was an unfortunate situation,” he said. “We do everything we are required to do. We have undercover officers. We also have extra security around the building.”
Toney said the people who were involved in the altercation were removed from the business as soon as it started.
“I know the violence is bad,” he said. “But we also have to hold each other accountable. We can’t just blame one thing. If you want to shut down Spades, what about any other bar down on the Strip? Downtown? The mall? There was a shooting at a Chevron the day after. What are we gonna do about those things?”
Lewis is charged with first-degree assault. He has since bonded out of the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $60,000 bond.
You can watch the full City Council meeting below: