NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A shirtless man attacked a downtown employee, punching him in the face before being arrested earlier this week. It’s the latest incident of what’s being called “random crimes” happening in downtown Nashville.
“It’s getting crazy coming out of the pandemic, the crowds are like opening up the flood gates, I know they’re doing the best they can, but there’s a lot going on,” said Donovan Nugent, who has been the manager the family-owned Trail West boot store for the past eight years.
With COVID-19 restrictions loosening and good weather, downtown attracts locals and tourists alike, but Nugent worries it’s attracting crime as well.
“Pick-pockets, you get people throwing feces. There have been multiple reports of that. It happened to us, it happened next door at Kid Rock’s. I know it’s gross to talk about, but it’s the reality down here,” Nugent said.
He says more police are needed, pointing to last week’s incident where a man was arrested after taking his colonoscopy bag and throwing feces on Metro Police Officers outside of Kid Rock’s. Nugent says a similar incident happened a couple of months ago when a man walked into the boot store and threw feces into the store, following being asked to leave the business after asking customers for money.
Incidents like this have been happening throughout downtown Nashville over the past couple of weeks. In April, a man was arrested after police say he pepper-sprayed three employees in an attempt to dine and dash.
Last week, a 30-year-old man punched random patrons in the face inside of a Broadway honky tonk, then bit and injured an officer during his arrest, according to police.
Recently, security video at Tootie’s Orchid Lounge showed a man randomly attacking a security guard, knocking him to the ground. According to police records, the man has now been identified as 38-year-old Antonio Hamm. Hamm has been charged with aggravated assault.
“This is an iconic strip, why would you not want to do everything possible to keep it clean and keep it safe?” said Nugent.
Now some business owners and managers say they are working with the District Attorney’s Office and the city Homeless Commission to reduce crime.