Co-owner fatally shot at his NW Atlanta lounge

Credit: Lauren Booker

Credit: Lauren Booker

A longtime businessman in the Atlanta nightlife scene was found shot and killed Saturday morning at one of his clubs, according to police.

The shooting happened at Republic Lounge on Brady Avenue. Atlanta police said they were called to the business shortly before 7 a.m. and found a 50-year-old man shot at least once. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim was identified as Michael Gidewon, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.

He and his brother, Alex, have owned and operated some of metro Atlanta’s most popular clubs over the years, including Vision and Compound.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

When Vision opened in 2003 at Peachtree and 12th streets, hip-hop icons P. Diddy and Jermaine Dupri hosted parties that weekend, followed by the club quickly being the site for other celebrity-sponsored events. Likewise, Compound — down the road from Republic Lounge — has served as a gathering place for celebrities and locals alike.

Reports indicate the two brothers co-owned Republic Lounge.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Bert Weiss, who has been the creator and primary host of the Bert Show on what is now the top 40 station Q99.7, met Gidewon in 2001 soon after he launched his show.

They became fast friends, and the radio station would host special Friday nights at Gidewon’s Midtown Vision nightclub from 2003 to 2006.

“He had an amazing combination of warmth, fun and professionalism,” Weiss said. “He carried himself with honor, respect and dignity.”

The only time Weiss recalled Gidewon getting upset was when people became drunk and disrespectful.

“He and his brother defined Atlanta nightlife for two decades. He was so proud of his family,” Weiss said. “He didn’t come to America from Eritrea with money. He was a valet for years observing the business before he started his own club. He was beloved both professionally and personally.”

At the scene Saturday morning, Ken Lucas, a security guard at Republic Lounge, told Channel 2 Action News that a man was asked to leave the club before getting into a fight with a manager.

“I helped get (the man) out, but he was putting up a fight,” Lucas said, adding that he walked back into the club and then gunshots went off.

Police have not released any other details.

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.