Teen Club Closes Due to Weekend Violence

A Savannah teen dance club may be closed for good after an 18-year-old boy at the club was shot and a 15-year-old girl was stabbed. Savannah-Chatham police said James Allison shot Santanio Higgins in the leg outside the Hip Huggers Teen Club on Bay Street Saturday night.

Today Allison was in court and a judge denied him bond. Police need your help to find out who else was involved in the shooting. They are also looking for a teenage girl who stabbed another girl in the neck and chest outside the club.

This violence has led the owner of Hip Huggers to shut down and maybe for good. The club's answering machine tells callers, "The teen club is closed, we will not reopen. Please don't leave a message."

The once popular night club turned into a teen club just ten weeks ago. We could not reach the owner Eric Traub, to confirm why he's closing. Traub showed us around when Hip Huggers first opened as a teen club back in February.

Police and nearby business said it's because of all the trouble the teens who frequent the club have been causing.

Chris Lewis manages Moon River Brewing Company a few doors down. "We've had kids who walk in here on a Friday and Saturday night and sit at the bar expecting to get served," Lewis said. "I've seen fights out in front of the restaurant more than once, there's always police cars out in front. Since they started this teen club it has steadily gotten worse."

Lewis said he wasn't surprised by the violence that broke out Saturday night. He found out when someone came in his restaurant saying someone had just been shot.

"What I saw was just herds of kids lining up in front of the restaurant, then I looked out the window and saw lines of kids in front of hip huggers just milling around and police cars were everywhere," said Lewis.

Lewis says a teen club in a downtown area just isn't a good mix. "I think it was a bad idea to have a large group of teens in a downtown environment especially around all the bars," he said. "I think having a teen club is a great idea, it was just a bad location."

Hip huggers was the only club in Savannah for teens 13 to 18-years-old. The club reopened as a teen club after the Savannah City Council decided to ban minors from being in bars and night clubs. But now, teenagers will have to find something else to do with their weekends.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com