NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville police have padlocked the Egyptian Latino Market on Millwood Drive, calling it a “public nuisance.” Police officials said the market has been the location of several crimes, citing shootings in January and September.
"We’ve had two shootings, we had one in September and one in January, we had five innocent bystander struck a gunfire. We had alleged drug sales, other violent events, drug use and neighborhoods feeling unsafe," said Police Chief John Drake.
Officers have responded to 848 dispatched calls for service at the Market between September 2015 and September 2020 - 165% more calls than at any of four other markets within a one-mile radius of 619 Millwood Drive.
Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier issued a temporary injunction and padlocking order Thursday, leading to officers closing the business Friday.
The business must be shut down at least until next Wednesday when a hearing will be held. It also prohibits the market owner, Meshreky Meshreky, and the owner of the property on which it sits, Hamadani Mazahir, from entering onto the premises pending further court orders.
BREAKING: The MNPD is shutting down & padlocking Egyptian Latino Market, 619 Millwood Dr (corner of Murfreesboro Pk & Millwood), as a public nuisance. Shootings of innocent persons have occurred here in Jan & last Sept. Other crimes have also been occurring. pic.twitter.com/uGLTL6H68r— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) May 14, 2021
The police department and District Attorney’s Office say that Meshreky and Mazahir have allowed the market to be used to facilitate or overtly allow the commission of violent felonies, the distribution of controlled substances, drug use, disorderly conduct, robberies, aggravated assaults, indecent exposure and multiple other criminal violations.
"Today this is a bad news for the families that are affected by that actual market but it’s a good day for the community," Hendricks said, "We persevered and dealt with long enough we don’t have to worry about it. I can safely say I can sleep tonight with my head on the pillow knowing that I don’t have to worry about tomorrow hearing that my security guard got shot at night because he was caught in the crossfire."
MNPD says officers met with Meshreky on January 19th and warned him that if the situation didn’t improve, the city might take action. The same warning was conveyed to Hamadani on January 25th.
Four people were injured outside the market last September 27 after a 19-year-old man opened fire. Three of the victims were innocent bystanders. Two other innocent bystanders were injured in a separate shootout between men in the parking lot of the market and those across the street on January 19, according to MNPD officials.
"My whole fear the whole time and I even said it this morning, it’s like 3,2,1 what’s that one big event that’s going to cause this to happen? It was a lot of innocent bystanders," said Cody Hendricks, a property manager in the neighborhood.
The owner of a nearby business emailed officers last September about the criminal activity at the market:
“This email is regarding all the criminal activities that have been going on for years now, people on a daily basis selling drugs, robbing people, and it is just getting worse.” - nearby business owner
"I am sure you are aware that there was another major shooting at the gas station at 619 Millwood Drive, where two innocent bystanders were shot. I know your department has made major efforts recently in order to attempt to prevent these type issues, but what else can we do? I am at a point where people are afraid to live in our community and are moving out, as they are literally putting their life on the line just to drive past that gas station to get home.” - nearby apartment complex owner
“My concern is, of course, for my daughter going to school in that area, but also for her fellow students and teachers and anyone living, working or going to school there. From personal experience, she feels very unsafe anywhere in the area.” - A parent whose daughter attends a nearby school