By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
How would you feel if you rented your homeowners’ association clubhouse for a party, and you were blamed when some uninvited guests decided to shoot up the clubhouse after they were denied entry to the party?
It happened to a woman who owns a home in Oakwood subdivision, in Lakeland, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis.
According to recent reports, an unidentified homeowner rented the HOA’s clubhouse for a Sweet 16 birthday party for her goddaughter. Family members attended the party as chaperones for the teenage guests.
But at approximately 10:30 PM on Sunday, May 27, four teens tried to crash the party. They were turned away by the adults chaperones. Shortly thereafter, shots rang out, and three teens were injured.
The injuries were non-life threatening, but, understandably, the incident has shocked and upset the entire neighborhood.
Police reports indicate that 15 shots were fired into the clubhouse from two sides of the building. So far, no suspects have been arrested.
Almost immediately after the incident, the Mayor of Lakewood went on record blaming the homeowner hosting the party for associating with gang members, even though there’s absolutely no evidence that the shooters are affiliated with a gang, or that the homeowner or family members know the four teens.
The homeowner and family members deny that they hired “bouncers” or security officers for the event. But many homeowners in Oakwood are convinced that the woman who rented the clubhouse for her goddauthter’s party expected trouble. They now blame the homeowner for bringing violence and embarrassment to their neighborhood.
The homeowner says she is being harassed and threatened on social media, and presents evidence that her neighbors now wish to force her to move out of the subdivision. She has filed an official intimidation report with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO).
The incident is a classic case of Blaming the Victim, as well as a disturbing example of a city elected official — the Mayor of Lakeland, TN — taking sides in an HOA controversy.
The “not in my town, not on my watch” attitude of Mayor Wyatt Bunker, and shifting blame to a single homeowner for bringing violent crime to Lakeland, is inappropriate and downright sickening. His words have thrown fuel on the fire in Oakwood subdivision, and they have amplified the typical HOA-ville response to any neighborhood crisis — find a scapegoat and shift the blame.
The homeowner did not “shoot up” the clubhouse or attendees at the party. And, in fact, the violent teens had been told to leave the party shortly before they went on their rampage.
Hopefully, more details surrounding this unfortunate incident will be revealed in future reports.
Lakewood neighbor rattled, demanding changes after clubhouse shooting injures teenagers
By Brad Broders. Local Memphis News
May 28, 2018 6:21 PM CDT
MEMPHIS, Tenn (localmemphis.com) – Chaos at a clubhouse Sunday night sent three teenagers to the hospital and left those in a Lakeland subdivision furious and demanding changes.
Investigators said at least one person shot into a crowd during a Sweet 16 party at the clubhouse in the Oakwood subdivision, on Matwood Oak Drive.
Read more (Video):
Homeowner who arranged for the party being singled out and blamed for the shooting
By: Brad Broders
Posted: May 29, 2018 06:14 PM CDT
May 29, 2018 06:33 PM CDT
LAKELAND, Tenn (localmemphis.com) – New, exclusive details about a clubhouse shooting Sunday night in a Lakeland neighborhood.
Authorities said three teenagers were shot and injured during a Sweet 16 party in the Oakwood neighborhood on Matwood Oak Drive.
The sheriff’s report, released Tuesday, said the grandfather of the teen didn’t let four guys into the clubhouse and at least one of them fired about a dozen shots into the crowd.
The homeowner who rented the clubhouse didn’t want to give her name or go on camera, but off camera she said she reserved it for her goddaughter, chaperoned the party and called 911 after the gunfire.
In the shooting’s aftermath, she said she’s being bullied and threatened online.
She showed messages sent about her on Oakwood’s private homeowner association Facebook page.
One person wrote, ‘maybe if they have enough pressure on them from the neighborhood they will move’.
The homeowner told Local 24, “I feel really bad. Those kids could have died. I’ve been singled out.”
Read more (Video):
Woman who rented Lakeland clubhouse where shooting occurred files intimidation report
Clay Bailey, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
Published 12:18 p.m. CT May 30, 2018
Updated 6:28 p.m. CT May 30, 2018
The woman who rented the Lakeland clubhouse where a shooting occurred Sunday night during a Sweet 16 birthday party has filed an intimidation report with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office over social media reaction by her neighbors.
The 45-year-old woman cited several social media posts in supporting the concern, including one that said: “Put them out there (in the public) so everyone knows. Maybe if they have enough pressure on them from the neighborhood, they will move,” according to the report narrative.
In the report, the woman also disputed some of the claims by Lakeland Mayor Wyatt Bunker in his Facebook posts contending the people involved were non-Lakeland residents and the persons who fired shots into the party were gang members.
Authorities have no suspects in custody in the case and are unable to confirm any links to gangs.
About Oakwood HOA, Lakewood, TN:
The Association’s website describes the community as a “kid friendly neighborhood” with French Country homes on large lots, and a community clubhouse and pool. Further details about the community are only available with registration and a login ID and password.
According to publicly available real estate sales records, homes in the subdivision sell between $350,000 – $400,000.