Man shot, killed while standing on patio of local favorite bar in Charlotte

Published: Dec. 31, 2018 at 12:40 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man was shot and killed while standing on the patio of a popular bar in east Charlotte Saturday night.

This happened at Smokey Joe’s Cafe on Monroe Road. Police say the shooting was unusual for the area

Detectives were able to identify the victim as 47-year-old John Michael Songer.

On Sunday, officers charged 35-year-old Jamie Lord Harris with murder and possession of a firearm by convicted felon.

On Sunday, officers charged 35-year-old Jamie Lord Harris with murder and possession of a...
On Sunday, officers charged 35-year-old Jamie Lord Harris with murder and possession of a firearm by convicted felon.(Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (custom credit))

During the course of their investigation, detectives identified Harris as the suspect and obtained warrants for his arrest.

Harris was located and arrested without incident. He was then transferred to the custody of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

Smokey Joe’s is back open Sunday night. The crowd gathered on Sunday wanted to come back even after the shooting to support the bar.

Locals say Smokey Joe’s is their favorite spot to come and feel at home.

“It’s the best place in the world to play music," said Doug Williams.

Williams is a member of the Willie Douglas Band. He says they play at the bar every six weeks or so.

“It’s just a real warm comfortable friendly place to play music,” said Williams.

According to Smokey Joe’s Facebook posts, the band playing on Saturday night when the shooting happened was Monty Mak.

According to one of Monty Mak’s band members, Songer was a close friend of the band.

“Apparently the bullet came right through there and the guy was standing right here,” said Steve Hoxworth, a regular at Smokey Joe’s.

Hoxworth has been coming to Smokeys for years.

He left before the shooting, but his friends who were still at the bar say they heard a shootout between two cars on Monroe Road.

“They said there were five or six shots,” said Hoxworth.

Those friends say one of those shots from the cars came through the opening in the wall at Smokeys and hit a man standing on the patio.

“He said he was gone just like that," said Hoxworth.

Monty Makarow from the band Monty Mak said his friend being gone is causing “great pain” for all of the band members and that he was a “good person.”

“I understand that the person that was shot was one of their friends,” said Williams. "I feel for them, I know that has to be really hard for those guys and everybody.”

Several of the people WBTV talked to at Smokey Joe’s said they believed the shooting was a senseless act of violence and are sad one of their favorite places to go is at the center of this tragedy.

CMPD is still investigating but says this is very unusual for the area.

“This is not a location where we have frequent complaints," said Major Butler with CMPD. "The last time we had an issue it was about 2 years ago.”

This is an active and ongoing investigation and no further information was released.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit Detective, Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visit the Crime Stoppers website at

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