Deadly Buckhead club shooting targeted 1 victim, APD chief says

Officials ID both victims killed; police chief says suspect remains at large
A shooting at Elleven45 Lounge left two dead and four injured.

Credit: David Aaro/AJC

Credit: David Aaro/AJC

A shooting at Elleven45 Lounge left two dead and four injured.

The mood was somber Sunday in the neighborhood surrounding a Buckhead nightclub where two people were shot to death overnight at a venue that critics have complained has seen numerous violent acts in recent years.

A long, white vehicle and other official vehicles, including a Fulton County Medical Examiner’s vehicle, could be seen outside Elleven45 Lounge on Sunday morning. Crime scene tape blocked off the facility, but workers pushing what appeared to be a gurney could be seen from across the street. A number of Atlanta Police Department officers were on scene.

At a grocery store across the street, an employee said customers had been calling to ask if it was safe to shop there. A nearby merchant lamented that the incident seemed unsurprising. A neighbor who passed by asked if the club would open Sunday. No one answered a call to the club’s phone number.

On Sunday evening, the nightclub wrote it was “profoundly affected” by the shooting and would be closed Sunday amid the active investigation. It’s unclear how long it will remain closed.

“Our hearts go out to all those impacted, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the individuals and families who have suffered loss and injury,” Elleven45 Lounge said in a statement posted to social media. “In these challenging times, our commitment to the security and safety of our community has only strengthened. We are dedicated to maintaining an environment where everyone feels secure.”

Prior to that, the most recent social media post on the club’s main Instagram account had read: “Saturday are fun days.” Meanwhile, another recent post on an account that features the club’s employees promoted something called “The Ultimate Guide to Surviving the Nightlife.”

The nightclub is in the 2100 block of Peachtree Road.

Credit: David Aaro

icon to expand image

Credit: David Aaro

The gunfire erupted around 2:30 a.m. Sunday during a fight inside the nightclub in the 2100 block of Peachtree Road, police said. When officers arrived, they found six people shot, including two who were pronounced dead at the scene by medical crews.

Mari Creighton, 21, and Nakyris M. Ridley, 20, were killed, according to the medical examiner’s office. The other victims were two men and two women, all between the ages of 20 and 30, according to Channel 2 Action News. Creighton was a student at Albany State University.

At a previously scheduled appearance before the Atlanta City Council on Monday, APD Chief Darin Schierbaum shared additional details about the shooting.

Investigators believe there was one shooter targeting one other person inside the club, Schierbaum said. The suspect fired multiple shots, hitting and killing his suspected target as well as the the five others, who are thought to be bystanders, according to the chief.

Schierbaum said the suspect had been identified but remains at large.

“The investigation is very active. I was briefed on it again this morning and I’m confident that very shortly we can let this body and Atlanta know who we believe committed that crime, who we believe has caused that neighborhood to feel less safe, and we will have them before a court of Fulton County to hold them accountable,” Schierbaum said.

Detectives were interviewing the survivors and reviewing surveillance footage to learn more. The club is located near Bennett Street and just a few blocks north of Piedmont Hospital.

Nearly four years ago, a petition sought the closure of Elleven45 Lounge which it deemed “irresponsibly owned” following claims of an increase in crime there.

The petition started by a local resident noted five shootings associated with the club had occurred from September 2019 to August 2020, resulting in four deaths. In 2019, Atlanta police received nearly 100 emergency calls associated with the Elleven45 Lounge’s address, the AJC previously reported.

A records request for more current crime data has been filed.

“The owners of this bar/restaurant don’t respect our neighborhood or the codes set in place for establishments operating in this area and as a result the patrons have followed suit,” the petition read. “We feel it is creating an unsafe environment in the neighborhood and is drawing criminal activity and behavior that should not be accepted in the residential area it resides.”