Violations force Jay's bar to close after Sunday's homicide - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Violations force Jay's bar to close after Sunday's homicide

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Days after a man was killed at a Chattanooga bar, city code enforcement found enough serious violations to shut it down, at least temporarily.

Jimmy McCane, 33, was shot and killed early Sunday morning at Jay's bar on Wilder Street.  Police said McCane was an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire of two people who had a disturbance at the bar.

"With Jay's Bar, if we have a place where violent gang members are hanging out, shooting each other, and that place is not up to code? And we're made aware of it? We're definitely going to call code enforcement," said Sgt. Steve Campbell.

When Chattanooga police respond to a call for help, they often see things that would typically go unnoticed. There are two city code employees dedicated to answering CPD's violation complaints. 

"There was some minor violations on the exterior of the building, one was turned into a semi-major violation," said Code Enforcement Supervisor Kenneth Elwood.

Code enforcement inspected Jay's bar as the memorial for the shooting victim continued to grow across the street.    

Inspectors found an issue with the front door locks so serious the owner was forced to close until repairs are made. Other minor violations must be completed within 30 days.

"So if something escalated inside the bar and somebody came out and was mad, they could pretty much just lock everybody in the bar," Elwood said.

Establishments are not required to pass an inspection after a violent crime is committed at their place. But if officers see something on the scene that doesn't look safe, they'll make a call to code enforcement.

"Often driving by, might see something that looks dangerous to life and safety of the public, they make us aware of it and we go investigate it."

Sgt. Campbell said they can sometimes use code enforcement as a tool to cut down on re-occurring crimes in the same area. 

"Hey this is a problem area, a problem house, we've had many houses that are violent, violent houses that has a lot of gang activity there," he said.

If the owner of Jay's Bar fixes a few of the violations it can re-open at any time. Channel 3 reached out to the owner to see if they intend on reopening and has not heard back yet.

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