Managers, patrons talk about Hooters shooting, murder

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) – Saturday morning's shooting at the West Knoxville Hooters had turned into a murder investigation early that evening.

Police have now released a sketch of the alleged gunman; a customer whom they believe opened fire with a .40 caliber handgun after walking out of the Kingston Pike restaurant during a dispute over his bill.

One customer was killed and another, one of Hooters managers, was wounded.

All day Saturday it looked like just another slow one at the restaurant, that was until you saw the bullet holes.

"Obviously anything like this is never easy to take," said Jason Till, the manager of the Electric Cowboy, a nearby bar and nightclub.

At just before 1:00 AM on Saturday, Knoxville police say a customer argued about his bar tab.

A Hooters manager waived the bill and that’s when the customer allegedly walked outside and pulled out a 40-caliber handgun, opening fire on the restaurant.

Bullets pierced glass windows, hitting another customer, Stacey Sherman, 35 of Applegate, Michigan.

He died Saturday afternoon at UT Medical Center.

Bullets also struck Kris Key, 24 who was a Hooters manager.

The restaurant declined an on-camera interview, but a representative did issue a written statement.

Part of it read, “…we are both stunned and heartbroken, and we will continue to work with the authorities and do whatever is necessary to help our employees and customers recover and cope.”

"In my opinion, they did perfect, it's completely random, things like this and you never really know,” said Till. “We don't like confrontation, so if we think the guy's going to be violent, we'd like to handle it as easily as possible."

That means asking them to leave and if that doesn't work, call for help.

"We'll have the police either wait outside or we'll actually ask them to come inside and remove the individual,” Till said.

Meanwhile, some Knoxville night-owls say the shooting won't scare them off the dance floor.

"No matter how hard they try and no matter how hard they work, there's still going to be people out there that do stuff like that,” said Joe Roberts.

"You just have to live life,” said Sue Johnson, “have fun and enjoy life and not be afraid."

Manager Kris Key was upgraded from critical to serious condition Saturday afternoon at UT Medical Center.

Police say the suspect is a white man with dark skin, in his twenties or thirties and about 6-feet tall, weighing around 180 pounds.

He is also missing four of his front teeth and he has a ponytail.

The suspect was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black hoodie with white-diamond pattern stitching and large-gauge earrings.

If you have any information, police ask you to call them at 865-215-7212.


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  • by ME Location: KTOWN on Jan 2, 2008 at 02:28 PM
    I love hooters and the girls working there so so sad
  • by Vickie Location: Knoxville on Jan 1, 2008 at 11:57 PM
    This is so sad for Mr. Sherman's family and friends and we regret that it happened, that it came at Holiday time for his children and that it occurred in Knoxville. Mr. Sherman sounds like a wonderful man and father of eight an angel on earth and now in heaven. God bless him and those whose lives he touched and loved him. The coverage was thorough and the police did an exceptional job of removing this poor soul from our midst and happy the family won't have to endure a trial.
  • by marc Location: Florid on Dec 31, 2007 at 04:56 PM
    People like this, what is their motivation? What is their problem? He already had his bill waived, did he have to kill someone? what is the point? What is the reason behind this senseless killing? I am at a loss..
  • by laurie Location: michigan on Dec 31, 2007 at 11:59 AM
    I feel you put to much,about people feeling safe what about stacy's family and children? Stacey was a single parent,at 1 time. that should tell you what kind of family man Stacey was
  • by StraightFromYourHeart Location: Off Broadway on Dec 30, 2007 at 05:25 PM
    Thank you, "why", for offering your critique straight from the friendly confines of the newsroom across the street. It does a heart and body good to know that our coverage is having an impact. Glass houses, kiddies. I trust you will join us in offering prayers for Mr. Sherman, his family, and the family, friends, and co-workers of Mr. Key.
  • by Why? Location: Knoxville on Dec 30, 2007 at 05:02 PM
    Why go 3 miles down the road and ask someone from the Cowboy what they think? These establishments are not even in the same business and don't have the same hours. Was no one willing to talk to Ch 8 that is in the same part of town, or even in the same business? Do you have to go theat far out of the way to find someone who is actually willing to speak with you to add to your little story? C'mon channel 8, CLEAN IT UP!
  • by John on Dec 30, 2007 at 02:08 AM
    I cant believe this toofless freak hasnt been found yet. Open your eyes Knoxville any lead is a lead. This guy needs his nuts crushed.

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