A man faced a judge Monday for allegedly shooting and killing a father of four outside a former nightclub near Jacksonville.
According to investigators, 25-year-old Sherodnie Smith was taken into custody at about 12:30 a.m. Monday at Triangle Motor Inn on Wilmington Highway in Jacksonville. Smith made his first court appearance later in the morning on an open count of murder. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30. Smith is being jailed under no bond.
Deputies said Smith shot and killed Tiaseer Rambert, 37, outside the building formerly known as the Stratosphere nightclub on Gum Branch Road at about 3 a.m. on Sept. 1.
Rambert's death certificate stated he died from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest.
Although a motive for the shooting was unknown, investigators said the suspect and the victim knew each other.
"We can sleep a little better now, knowing he's not out there, that he hurt someone else, taking lives from other people," said Betty Rambert, the victim's mother, of Smith's arrest.
Tiaseer was standing outside the building when the suspect pulled a gun on him, Betty said. She said she was told her son didn't put up a fight and was shot at least three times.
"I wish the Lord that it never had happened. But it did happen, and he's gone, and he's not coming back," Betty said.
Tiaseer was a father of four children.
According to Betty, a relative of the gunman later came to her and said, "Our nephew did this. We want him to turn himself in."
Before Smith's arrest Monday morning, his great aunt said she hoped Smith will cooperate with law enforcement.
"Don't let anyone keep hunting you down like you're some kind of animal," said Minnie Smith. "Please come back and talk to authorities about this matter- whether you did it or somebody else is involved."
Minnie said she wanted Smith to consider the feelings of the victim's relatives, and hoped he can help bring some closure to both families.
"We love him, and always will love him," Minnie said. "Everybody makes mistakes, and there's two families hurting."
There was no word on whether anyone else was injured in the shooting.
NewsChannel 12 spoke with several neighbors who did not want to identified. Most said they were not surprised by the shooting. One neighbor said law enforcement officers came to the club several times after he called in about a noise complaint.
But Hair stylist Kaila Shannon, who works in the same plaza as the club, said she thought the area was safe. She said she had not heard of things like this happening before.
"I've left the area late at night before 12 a.m. and had no worries. But now, I am skeptical,” Shannon said.
Shannon added that the nightclub isn't open during regular hours, but can be rented out.
"It’s not a particular business, because different people rent it out and do what they do," Shannon said.
Investigators said crowd control was a major issue at the scene.