Man Assaulted Outside Gay Tenn. Club, Dies

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jan 27, 2009

A man was so badly beaten outside a gay club in Tennessee that he later died in the hospital, according to media reports.

The victim, identified as 48-year-old James Lewis, had reportedly tried to intervene in a fight when he became the subject of violent assault himself. Police arriving at the scene found Lewis unconscious outside of New Beginnings, a gay club, and took him to Johnson City Medical Center.

The incident reportedly took place in the early morning hours of Jan. 25. Lewis was initially reported to be in critical condition, but later was removed from life support and died on Jan. 26, according to a Jan. 27 article posted at

The article quoted police Sergeant Kevin Peters, who said that Lewis had sustained a head injury.

Peters said that not much else was known.

"All we know right now is that there were some punches thrown.

"We don't know how many."

Added Peters, "Right now what our investigation has revealed is that there was at least three people involved in the fight.

"Don't know exactly their roles, but there was at least three involved."

No arrests have been made in the incident, and the article said that there were no warrants out for suspects although, said Peters, "We've got a couple of people we're looking at right now. People of interest to us. posted several stories on the incident.

In the reader comments area below one Jan. 26 posting, a contributor wrote that Lewis "was NOT gay.

"He just had an appreciation for the gay population," continued the comment. "He enjoyed going to the nightclub because he could have a good time, be himself and not worry about anyone judging him.

"With this said, I do not think that he was wrong for what he did. If anything, he should be a hero for trying to break up a fight that started from pure and utter hate."

The posting continued, "I know there have been some very malicious things posted on the other stories regarding Mr. Lewis' death.

"Those of you who call yourself Christians but then in the same breath spread hatred, are nothing more than a low-life hypocrite."

The posting went on, "For those of you lucky enough to know James, he was an amazing guy.

"He would have given the shirt off his back even if it meant going without himself. He will be greatly missed!!"

Readers with information relevant to the beating were invited to contact the authorities.

The Criminal Investigation Division of the Johnson City Police Department was listed: 434-6166.

Anyone with information wishing to remain anonymous was also encouraged to call Crimestoppers: 434-6158.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • , 2009-01-27 19:47:27

    It’s a shame that people have to act like animals, attacking a fellow human being. I come to TN often and I thought the the people there were more open mibed and grown up. I gues not !

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