Activist groups to hold rally on Saturday in response to murder at Foxy Lady

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 28, 2013 

Winterfield on the Move Against Drugs and Stop the Violence will be holding a rally to close the Foxy Lady Lounge Saturday at 11 a.m. on the sidewalk in front of the club.

Civil rights activist Rev. Willie Phillips said the group is protesting the club in the wake of the murder of 20-year-old Shannon Calvin Fields, Jr. Fields was shot multiple times inside the club Wednesday at about 2 a.m.

Lt. John R. McMichael wrote in a press release that "several patrons as well as entertainers and staff" were inside the club when a shooter "apparently" entered the club and began firing a gun at Fields.

Another man, 25-year-old Samuel Lamar Cash, was shot in the right arm and the right foot. The other patrons escaped outside.

Police have minimal information about the shooting at the moment, and lack a description of the shooter and a motive. Anyone with information about the incident should call the Robbery/Homicide Division of the Columbus Police Department at 706-653-3400.

Phillips said he began putting together the rally Thursday morning after learning scant details of the incident on Wednesday. Particularly important to him, he said, was that an underage person had lost their life.

"I was able to confirm while I was filing for the permit for the rally that he was underage," Phillips said. "We lost another young person. It shouldn't have happened."

Fields' name and birth date match that of Shannon Fields who was a suspect in a robbery and shooting death at Decatur Court in 2010. He was later acquitted of murder and pled guilty to an unrelated auto theft charge.

Phillips said that although Fields' acquittal is enough to prove his innocence, the man's death would be tragic regardless of his past.

"He's a person that they found not guilty and we've got to stand up for all our young people. We've got to put a stop to what's been going," he said. "I can't say he's guilty or what happened because I don't know what happened. He was just another young person that lost his life in one of these establishments."

Phillips has been an active voice in the effort to shut down clubs which have a history of criminal activity or underage patrons in South Columbus.

Following the Club Majestic shootings on New Year's Day Phillips led a candlelight vigil for the slain man. He spoke to a crowd of more than 30 friends and family members of Foster's, and stated that he wanted the establishment shut down before the shooting occurred.

On Feb. 9, Phillips led a march around the block where Club Majestic is located on the same day that Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson announced she began the process to close the club as a public nuisance.

The Club Majestic shootings, which left 24-year-old Charles Foster dead and six others injured, sparked an investigation into the criminal activity surrounding the club. Club owner James Weaver later had his alcoholic beverage license revoked during a Columbus Council meeting March 11.

Phillips said he is unsure how many people will attend to the rally Saturday, since it's scheduled for the Easter weekend, but said he encourages all citizens who are interested to attend.

"It's time for us to step up for our young people," Phillips said. "They are going into these establishments with no security. It's time to tell these business owners to clean up their act."

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