By Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2021

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The city of Savannah has suspended the liquor license of a downtown bar following a murder there on New Year’s Day.

Mayor Van Johnson tells the Savannah Morning News that it appears from several incidents that the Tree House is “not able to provide a safe environment for employees and patrons.”

Corey Vance died in the shooting, and a 28-year-old man and 25-year-old woman were injured.

Owner Stu Putman said he takes reasonable precautions, including employing off-duty police officers on weekend nights and private security guards who use a portable metal detector.

Putman said the shooting was “super unfortunate” and one of the guards working at the door felt remorse knowing a gun got through.

“I think… when people read about this or hear stories, they think it’s some sort of back alley bar, but we’re not,” Putman said.

Putman said the only other incident happened more than two years ago when someone brought in a gun and it fired after falling and hitting the ground. No one was reported to be injured.

Putman said he’s now hired more off-duty officers and will use a metal detector on every customer who enters. He’s scheduled to ask the Savannah’s City Council on Thursday to reinstate Tree House’s liquor license. Putman said the bar’s 26 employees are now out of work.

“Every employee now is a victim of that murder because they’ve since lost their job,” he said.

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