NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An early morning shooting in downtown Nashville has tourists on edge. A 31-year-old man was critically wounded around 5:45 a.m. Tuesday morning just outside of the Pancake Pantry, near the intersection of Third Avenue South and Malloy Street. 

The shooting in a popular tourist area surrounded by hotels comes just days before tens of thousands of people are expected for the CMA Music Festival. 

“I’m pretty shocked,” Gavin Gescheidler from Indiana told News 2. 

Just hours before the shooting, Gescheidler and Ariana Perez were walking the streets downtown. 

“That’s pretty scary, I was just saying it feels so safe to me. That’s scary to me because I didn’t know anything about it,” said Perez. 

The two tourists pointed out that it’s common news to hear where they come from. 

“I would not expect a shooting to happen. That’s something we hear in Chicago,” said Gescheidler.

However, as Music City continues to grow so does the crime. Metro police have taken note with the longest-running country music festival in the world officially kicking off in the streets of downtown Thursday. 

“Due to the recent events across the country as well as us putting many, many events here in Nashville we understand the need for security and we have what I believe to be a very robust security plan for downtown, as well as Nissan Stadium,” Captain Dayton Wheeler with Metro Nashville Police Department explained. 

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Metro’s mobile eyes in the sky are already activated downtown and plans include having around 200 officers in the area each day for the CMA Music Festival. Police are implementing new safety measures this year, sharing limited details due to the nature. 

“We’ve added a little extra presence in our open areas versus some of our stadium areas because we know obviously patrons that are going inside magnetometers, they are going to be searched that way by metal detectors. Whereas downtown, that’s an open area. So, one of the concerns we have is just focusing in on our open areas where large crowds are standing together,” said Capt. Wheeler. 

Police urge the public to keep their eyes open and reach out if they see anything peculiar, like heavy backpacks or people that may be fully clothed in winter-type clothing. 

CMA Fest is back! News 2 crews are giving you a front row seat to all the action as country artists and fans flood Music City for the first time in two years. Follow our continuing coverage right here on