St. Louis resident recalls terrifying weekend shooting inside Georgia nightclub

Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 6:26 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - A St. Louis father of four said he is lucky to be alive after witnessing a weekend shooting at a nightclub in Georgia.

“Went to this event thinking that it was going to be a peaceful night, and turned out to chaos, drama, shooting in the club,” said Sidney Caldwell. “I thought everybody was going to be dead. People [were] screaming [and] running.”

Caldwell said he is a program director for six urban radio stations in St. Louis and runs several others outside the state, including in Atlanta. He was in Atlanta for a music festival event called Birthday Bash Weekend. After the event on Saturday night, he went to an after-party for one of the artists at the Cosmopolitan Premiere Lounge in Decatur.

News 4′s Atlanta sister station, Atlanta News First, reported that Dekalb County Police responded to the scene at around 3 a.m. after reports of a shooting. Five people were injured, and police are still searching for the suspect.

“I’m never going to another after party anymore, not [one for] hip hop,” said Caldwell. “So happy I made it back on Father’s Day. Don’t anybody wanna lose their dad on Father’s Day.”

Caldwell shared a video from inside the club as patrons huddled on the ground, screaming as gunshots rang out.

“Matter of fact, I was next to one of the in-house DJs. He said, ‘Calm down, I got you. I got you.’ I said I need to get up out of here,” said Caldwell. “I thought the world was over.”

Caldwell said he was trampled during the chaos and still feels back and neck pain. Yet, it is the emotional toll that continues to weigh heavy, especially in the wake of weekend violence that killed one teen and injured several others following an illegal party in downtown St. Louis.

“When is it going to stop? Teenagers don’t need to be downtown at 10 o’clock at night. We need something for our youth. Youth programs, or something for these kids to do,” said Caldwell. “If your kids is walking around in the city late at night, you need to be punished. You need to get slammed with a ticket.”

Ultimately, he said he does not want the St. Louis community to continue to face grief from more mass incidents like these again.

“Our babies go to these shows. Grown-ups go to these shows too,” said Caldwell. “So, we have to have police enforce. Safety’s got to be 100. It’s got to be there.”