Popular east Charlotte bar to raise money in honor of man killed on patio

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sunday, an east Charlotte bar will come together in an effort to raise money in honor of a man who was shot and killed on their patio earlier this month.

Police said suspect Jamie Harris shot 47-year-old John Songer from a car while he was at Smokey Joe's Cafe on Briar Creek Road and drove away from the scene.

Harris appeared in court earlier in January and was denied Bond. Police believe the two men did not know each other.

[IMAGES: Shooting at Smokey Joe's Cafe in east Charlotte]

The event starts at 4 p.m. and Smokey Joe's will have live music and food throughout the evening.

All proceeds will go toward the Wounded Warrior Project. The bar said Songer was passionate about the cause.

Police arrested Harris shortly after the shooting and charged him with murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

(Jamie Lord Harris)

Following Harris' arrest, Channel 9 reviewed court records and found Harris had spent 10 years in prison for a murder that happened in 2005.

Records show he was released from prison in 2017.

In September, police said Harris attacked and robbed an 80-year-old woman who was leaving her physical therapy on Randolph Road.

Elizabeth Malcolm has not forgotten the man who grabbed her purse and knocked her onto the pavement.

“I have a fractured bone here from landing on the curb,” Malcolm said.

Police arrested Harris several days later after he used her credit card. Court records showed he bonded out of jail the same day officers arrested him in that case.

Malcolm was angry after she found out Harris bonded out so soon.

“I could've died from it, and it's really shocking to me that he doesn't even get his hand slapped,” Malcolm said.

She was not surprised by Harris’ latest arrest.

“He's experiencing no consequences to his behavior, and that truly bothers me,” Malcolm said.

Police said several shots were fired into the parking lot and into the bar.

Investigators said Songer was standing in the patio area when he was fatally shot.

Helena Feury, the bar’s manager, said violent crimes like Saturday’s shooting haven't happened there before.

“I just want to know why people want to hurt people,” Feury said.

Smokey Joe’s Café opened for business Sunday afternoon, less than 15 hours after the fatal shooting.

“There was a drive-by,” Feury said. “It does seem to have been at random.”

Feury told Channel 9 she received a text message from a staff member who was working Saturday night.

“We’re all in shock right now,” Feury said. “These random acts of violence really have to stop.”

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department had several units respond and comb the area for evidence late into the night.

CMPD Maj. Ryan Butler told Channel 9 that a crime like this at the east Charlotte bar is highly unusual.

“This is not a location that we have frequent complaints,” Butler said. “The last time we responded to complaints at this location was two years ago."

Within the past six months, 24 incidents have happened within 500 feet of Smokey Joe’s, from fraud to armed robberies.

“We want to catch whoever did this. This is not OK,” Feury said. “This is not right. This is not who we want to be as a community in Charlotte.”

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