Two weeks after 117 bullets were sprayed across parking lot, leaders declare Mississippi nightclub ‘public nuisance’

Published 6:09 am Tuesday, July 18, 2023

After attempts to work with the owner of a nightclub near where more than 100 bullets were fired on July 5, Vicksburg leaders said they had to do what they could to keep residents safe.

One week after delivering an ultimatum to the Mulberry and Jacques’ nightclub to develop an acceptable public safety and security plan, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution declaring Jacques’ a public nuisance.

The board approved the resolution at its Monday meeting. In a unanimous vote on July 10, the board authorized the city’s legal department and Police Chief Penny Jones to give the owners of the Mulberry and Jacques’ 10 days to develop a memorandum of understanding explaining how the businesses plan to move forward and protect the public.

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If the businesses could not develop an acceptable plan within 10 days, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said at the time, the board would direct the city’s legal department to begin the process in Warren County Chancery Court to seek a permanent injunction declaring the bar a public nuisance. He said Monday representatives for Jacques and the Mulberry had five more working days to develop a plan.

After the resolution passed, Flaggs asked Assistant City Attorney Monica Allen if there was any progress in developing a plan. Allen said there has been some communication between city officials and representatives for the businesses.

“But no progress,” Flaggs said.

“I’m trying to be transparent,” he said. “I just want to be able to say I’ve done all I could to try to save those steps (in court) and a viable business and there’s just been some communication with no progress.”

Attempts to reach Ken Rector, attorney for Jacques’ owner Jay Parmegiani, were unsuccessful.

The Mulberry leases space to Jacques’, which is attached to its building. Vicksburg Police Chief Penny Jones said on July 10 that a potential injunction would apply solely to Jacques’ and would not prohibit the Mulberry from doing business.

The board’s July 10 decision came in the wake of a July 5 incident in which 117 shots were fired in the parking lot shared by the Mulberry and Jacques’.

The shots damaged nearby cars and windows, including a window at the Vicksburg Convention Center, as well as the nearby floodwall.

“We got to do something because often people going to be safe when you start shooting where a bullet ends up in your convention center, where you have most of your traffic, then you got to do something,” Flaggs said.