City opens investigation into Buckhead nightclub after deadly shooting

Albany State athlete from Stockbridge was 1 of 2 killed at Elleven45 Lounge; no arrests have been made
The city of Atlanta is investigating "a number of matters" relating to the Elleven45 Lounge, where two people died and four others were injured in a shooting Sunday morning.

Credit: John Spink

Credit: John Spink

The city of Atlanta is investigating "a number of matters" relating to the Elleven45 Lounge, where two people died and four others were injured in a shooting Sunday morning.

The city of Atlanta has launched an investigation into a popular Buckhead nightclub after a deadly shooting last weekend reignited community concerns about security.

Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, gunfire erupted at the Elleven45 Lounge and left two people dead: 21-year-old Mari Creighton, a Stockbridge High graduate and volleyball player at Albany State University, and 20-year-old Nakyris M. Ridley.

Atlanta police said a fight inside the club escalated, and confirmed the bullets were intended for Ridley. Creighton and four others, who were also struck but survived, were bystanders. No arrests have been made in the case.

Albany State University student Mari Creighton, 21, was among the victims in Sunday's shooting.

Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

“First and foremost, the mayor’s thoughts are with the families of those affected by this tragic and senseless act of gun violence,” a spokesperson for Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Friday in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Following the incident and at the mayor’s direction, we are looking into a number of matters involving the property and working with the appropriate departments and agencies to take any necessary action,” the statement read. “There are several tools at the mayor’s disposal, and he will not hesitate to leverage any of them to keep our communities safe and thriving.”

The mayor’s office did not elaborate on what areas the city was investigating.

Since 2020, Buckhead residents have petitioned the city to shutter the club at 2110 Peachtree Road, which they deemed “irresponsibly owned” following claims of an increase in crime there.

At the time, residents noted that between September 2019 and August 2020, there were five shootings associated with the club that resulted in four deaths.

More recent police data obtained by the AJC shows that at least 25 crimes were reported at the club’s address since February 2021. Among the reports were three aggravated assaults and two motor vehicle thefts. The majority of the remaining reports involved crimes such as simple assaults, thefts from vehicles, property damage and vandalism.

According to online records, the club’s business and alcohol licenses are active and do not expire until the end of 2024. But the same records show there is a pending audit into the club’s general business license compliance.

The AJC attempted to reach the club’s owners by phone and in person this week but was unsuccessful. No one answered the club’s phone Friday afternoon, but tickets were available for Friday night’s festivities.

“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,” the club posted on social media after the shooting. “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.”

The Elleven45 Lounge on Peachtree Road was the site of Sunday's deadly shooting.

Credit: John Spink/AJC

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Credit: John Spink/AJC

One Buckhead resident, who did not want to be identified out of fear of retaliation, said he hopes the city does more this time to address their concerns.

“I think there was a token effort and some additional police patrols,” he said of the city’s response in 2020. “Maybe (crime) subsided for a few months, but then it was business as usual after that.”

Of the crimes reported since 2021, only four included firearms, the data shows. No shootings were reported at the address prior to Sunday’s gunfire.

Atlanta police have said the incident was not a random act. Chief Darin Schierbaum, speaking at an Atlanta City Council committee meeting Monday, said there was a single shooter who targeted one other person. That suspect remains at large, but the chief said he was confident an identity would be released soon.

As of Friday, that person’s name had not been made public.

Ridley, the intended target, was shot multiple times. Each of the other victims were struck only once.

Ridley had a myriad of previous arrests in Fulton County in recent years. His charges included false imprisonment, felony theft, gun possession and sexual battery, according to online records.

In 2022, Channel 2 Action News reported that Ridley was a suspect in an auto theft in the parking lot of a Fresh Market grocery store that is just across the street from Elleven45 Lounge. He was arrested after police tracked down the stolen vehicle, a Range Rover, which had been totaled.

Ridley was eventually indicted on charges stemming from that incident and, about 48 hours later, he was implicated in another auto theft, Channel 2 reported. Atlanta police accused him of stealing a Dodge Charger from a parking garage that was also along Peachtree Road.

A public viewing for Creighton will take place May 24 at 5 p.m. at the Richard R. Robinson Funeral Home in Macon. Her funeral is scheduled for the following day at 11 a.m. at the Community Church of God.