ROCK HILL, S.C. — The Hide-A-Way, a successful gay club for nearly three decades, was the scene of a violent incident in the early morning hours of Sunday, Jan. 15. One man died in the hospital of a gunshot wound, shot by the bar’s owner.
It all began with a mild verbal altercation inside the bar. The group that triggered the conflict was escorted out of the club by employees. One attempted to return to the club, saying his wife left her purse, and was halted by the 76-year-old bar owner, Mac Teal. The 28-year-old man hit Teal in the face, at which point Teal pulled out a gun and shot him. Teal was admitted to the hospital for injuries incurred during the assault, but was released late Monday.
Teal’s injuries were mostly to the face, and his family is currently awaiting the results of an X-ray examining his facial bones. An EKG showed that Teal had an irregular heartbeat, which doctors attributed to stress.
No arrests have been made, as witnesses affirm that the elderly owner was acting in self-defense. Nevertheless, neighbors to the bar are criticizing the Hideaway in the media.
“It’s between 20 and 50 feet from my backdoor, so what if there’s a stray bullet,” neighbor Kathy Adkins told WBTV.
Despite some neighbors’ concern, others have expressed solidarity with the club. Joette Stevenson lives on the same road and told reporters she knows the owner personally.
“In order for him to pull out a gun to shoot somebody I’ve got to believe that the man took him too far,” Stevenson told WSOC.
A close friend and employee of the Teals, Reid Garrett, was there that night and emphasized that it should be left to the police to find the truth of what happened. For his part, he’s trying to deal with the business end of things.
“There’s three sides to every story,” Reid told qnotes. “We’re all numb. In 28 years, this has never happened… we’re known for being a safe haven… We plan to increase security, starting this weekend.”
The Hide-A-Way has stood in that spot for nearly three decades and never before received any incident but noise complaints from the neighboring apartment complex. Loyal customers took to Facebook to show their support.
“Sending thoughts and prayers your way today,” one regular wrote on the club’s Facebook page. “Thank you for protecting your patrons and staff and standing with us, and when necessary, in front of us.”