Police: Robbery leads to shootout in East Knoxville

William Boatwright, 29, (left) and Marquis Watson, 27 (Right) (photos courtesy: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

UPDATED 6/12/08 6:43 p.m.: KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Police say an attempted robbery led to a shootout at an East Knoxville club.

KPD says 27-year-old Marquis Watson was taken to UT Medical Center with life-threatening injuries after he tried to rob customers at Brothers on MLK Drive around 3:00 a.m. Thrusday.

Police say 29-year-old Willie Boatwright caught Watson stealing, but Boatwright wound up getting shot, too. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries to his leg.

No one else was hurt, but the man who runs A-1 Check Cash Advance next door got a surprise when he came to work Thursday morning, and he's got plenty to say about the problem.

Before he could greet any customers, Charles Frazier was greeted by this, a bullet hole in his front wall.

Frazier says, "It's very disappointing."

Disappointing to a long-time community leader who recently decided to relocate his business to Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. He plans to invest money to improve the building. He hopes others nearby will follow his lead.

Frazier says, "We have to have strong expectations for our community, and having strong expectations we cannot accept violence."

Violence in east Knoxville is nothing new. Just last week, 14 shots from an assault rifle injured one man and hit the public library building nearby. As for the shooting at Brothers, police say it was far from random.

Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk says, "The individual that we believe went in to rob these individuals had actually been in the business prior to that, had been involved in some activities inside that business prior to going outside to get a gun and coming back in."

People in the community say even if they do their part, law enforcement has an important role to play here. And they have some ideas about what police could do to make this area safer.

Frazier says, "Years ago we had community policing where policemen walked through the community and I saw the other day in Detroit they resolved a lot of their violence issues by putting the policemen out of their cars and putting them in the streets to be with the people."

Safety and budget limitations will prevent police from walking this beat as Frazier suggests. However they patrol, connecting with the people who live and work here makes officers more effective. Frazier says he'll do his part to help with that.

Police say they're still trying to question Watson about the alleged robbery and shootout at Brothers, but so far his injuries have made that impossible. UTMC says Watson is in serious condition.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Police say two men showed up at separate hospitals this morning after an apparent shootout over a robbery at an East Knoxville club.

Officers were alerted at 3:16 a.m. of the shooting at "Brothers" but when officers arrived, no one was found at the club.

Marquis Watson, 27, was taken to UT Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

Willie Boatwright, 29, was driven to Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee, suffering a bullet wound to the leg and is expected to recover.

According to PIO Darrell DeBusk, Boatwright found Watson stealing from other club patrons.

Others then shot at Watson, shooting Boatwright by mistake.

Boatwright says he will not prosecute.

Watson was unavailable for questioning.

Call 865-215-7212 if you have more any information.

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