Knoxville, TN — One of Knoxville's well-known country music clubs, Cotton Eyed Joe, said Thursday that it will "beef up" security measures and has released its emergency action plan in response to Wednesday night's shooting that left 13 people dead at Country Night Club in California.
Using a smoke bomb and a handgun, a hooded former Marine dressed all in black opened fire during college night at a country music bar in Southern California, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing in panic before apparently taking his own life, authorities said Thursday.
Authorities said the motive for the attack Wednesday night was under investigation.
Cotton Eyed Joe owner, Chuck Ward, said his team already has an emergency plan in place in case anything similar to Thousand Oaks were to happen, but that he met with his security team and employees Thursday morning to review the plan in detail and figure out ways to increase armed officer presence at the club during the weekends.
"The tragedy that took place in California is terrible. Our hearts go out to all the families who are suffering due to these horrifying actions. Cotton Eyed Joe provides the safest atmosphere as possible and will continue to do so," Ward said.
"Their bar was so close in similarity to ours. It was about the same size, same dance floor size, they taught the same line dance class, so you never know who's going to be next," ward said.
The biggest security change at Cotton eyed Joe will be an increased armed officer presence during weekends when the club is most visited. Security is also focusing on the outside of the building.
"We've been talking about adding some lighting and patrolling our parking lot with a golf cart," Ward said.
Ward said right now they pat people down on their busy nights, have uniformed officers in the club, do thorough bag checks, and medal detectors might become a possibility in the near future.