Mayor, Police Battle Perception Of Violence After Random Shootings

Posted at 10:09 PM, Oct 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-03 23:44:42-04

Mayor Barry said the city has increased patrols, increased officers on flex teams and increased the general visibility of police downtown in response to two random robberies and shootings in downtown Nashville.

Yet, the chilling surveillance video had locals and tourists questioning the safety of the Music City.

It shows two friends and tourists visiting Nashville, walking away from Broadway just before midnight.

One of the victims later told NewsChannel 5 they were on their way to catch an Uber, away from the hustle and bustle of the honky tonks.

That's when a Chevy Impala pulls up, two men get out and the friends scatter.

The video stops before one of the men fires the shot that ended 30-year-old Teddy Grasset's life.

"Anytime you've got a high profile murder, which we've just had, people are nervous," said Mayor Megan Barry, just over a week after the shooting. Police say they've received leads but none have led to the gunman.

It was a crime so random and so senseless, it's striking a major chord throughout Music City.

"We have no reason to believe it was provoked in any way," said Metro Police Commander John Drake Monday when they released the surveillance video.

Police said they can't remember a crime like this happening before.

"The records we have back at the precinct go back to 2006 (and) we cannot pull up an incident to this magnitude," Drake said.

Regardless, Mayor Barry said the city has increased patrols, increased officers on flex teams and increased the general visibility of police downtown.

"I think any time you see an uptick in violence you notice it, so what we've done is make sure we deploy police resources in a way that will make people safe," Barry said.

But just a day after the random shooting, another random robbery and shooting downtown almost killed 27-year-old Dietrich Minor.

Despite an overall decrease in downtown crime, it's a perception problem city staff are working to tackle.

"We have about 81 people a day who move to our great city," Mayor Barry said, "sometimes that's also going to attract people who are criminals."

In a town that's booming, the influx of visitors and new residents is something the city relies upon.

"This is not Nashville, this is not something that happens here," Drake said.

Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp CEO Butch Spyridon also released a statement on the shootings to NewsChannel5:

“Safety has always been our top priority. Without it, you don’t have a travel destination. Our relationship with Metro Police is as strong as you’ll find in any other city. We stand with them in helping ensure this incident is isolated and not recurring, and we will do everything we can to assist. As Nashville grows, we will continue to work closely with Metro Police and our visitors to remain a safe, friendly, caring destination. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim. That’s where the focus should be right now – the victim and the police investigation.”

Police are offering up to a $6,000 reward for information leading to the gunman. You can remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at 615-74-CRIME.

Officers hope someone recognizes the Impala, which has a sunroof, spoiler and blue light around the license plate. And they said they hope the gunmen's accomplices come forward because it's unlikely they wanted to be a part of a crime that escalated to murder.