The city of Nashville, Tenn. is severely shaken this week after a string of possibly connected violent crimes occurred. The most severe of which involved what police describe as two “cold-blooded killers” who murdered two people without apparent motive.
The victims, Bartley Teal, age 33, and Jaime Sarrantonio, age 30, were celebrating a birthday when they were gunned down leaving a music venue and bar, The Cobra, in east Nashville around 3 a.m. The two were killed Friday. According to NBC, the police believe the murders of Teal and Sarrantonio may be connected to the murder of Kendall Rice, age 31. Rice was on his way to work from a bus stop when he was killed. The motive for both unsolved murders remains a mystery.
Teal and Sarrantonio left The Cobra to head to a convenience store, reports NBC. Upon heading back to the nightclub they “were confronted by these two individuals with at least one gun,” said Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron. “Mr. Teal reported it was a robbery and he was fatally shot.”
It was Aaron who described the murders to NBC as “two senseless cold-blooded homicides,” and noted that the motive for the murders was unidentified.
According to The Tennessean, similar descriptions of the vehicle and suspects have led investigators to connect Friday’s murder with the Rice murder and four additional robberies, though no definitive link has been announced by the police. The suspects for the crimes have been described as two young black men, one of which has shoulder-length dreadlocks.
Kristin Mumford, a spokeswoman for the Nashville police department told NBC, “There are similarities, but [the crimes] have not been definitively connected.”
The Cobra did not open for business Saturday night and held an event for friends and family of Teal and Sarrantonio, says NBC. On Facebook, they issued a public statement accompanying the vigil.
“As of now our primary focus is and will continue to be with the family and friends of Jaime Sarrantonio Bartley Teal and the entire East Nashville Community. No words can convey our sadness and shock at this time,” said The Cobra. “Tonight we will be closed to the general public and hosting friends and family for Jaime and Teal.”
One of the attempted robberies believed to be connected to the murders fell onto the wife of a crew member of the band One Republic, says NBC. Another robbery was reported by Ryan Noble, whose wallet was stolen. Thankfully Noble was not fatally harmed in the confrontation, though he was hit with the gun in the face-off. He told police he noticed a silencer on the end of the gun.
“We’re obviously telling folks to be in groups, be careful, be very cognizant of your surroundings and of what’s going on,” Nashville Metro Police Department Commander David Imhof said to NBC.