KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One person was arrested early Sunday morning after shots were fired outside a Knoxville bar on Maynardville Pike.
Deputies responded to El Tequila Bar and Club on Maynardville Pike at 2:52 a.m. on May 7. According to the incident report, officers on the scene arrested Darwin Valladarez for Felony Reckless Endangerment with the use of the firearm.
According to the incident report, the head of security at the bar told investigators that a fight started inside the bar and then spilled outside, where a black pickup truck nearly struck a number of people as it drove through the parking lot. The report states that Valladarez then retrieved a gun from a black Ford F-150, returned to the fight, and fired several shots into the air.
Investigators reported that Valladarez gave consent to search the Ford F-150 after being read his Miranda Rights. The report states “a Ruger 9MM handgun was found under the driver’s seat, with a magazine present in the handgun, and the slide locked to the rear as if all rounds had been fired.” This is followed by an explanation of how Valladarez admitted to firing the shots and claimed he was defending himself from the black pickup truck.
The report makes a point of stating that the head of security said that Valladarez did not point the firearm at a person at any time and that all shots were fired into the air.” According to the report, he continued by claiming to have seen Valladarez carry out the shooting, hand the gun to a different person, and then make his way back to the Ford F-150.
Two people were taken to UT Medical Center for injuries that did not appear life-threatening according to the sheriff’s office. The report does not share how they were injured.
It’s not yet clear why the black pickup truck nearly hit several people or who was driving it. WATE has reached out to the sheriff’s office for more information and any additional charges.
The sheriff’s office also shared that El Tequila has been at the center of a dozen incident reports since January 1, 2022. The reports range from theft to vandalism to assault. There was also one incident that resulted in five arrests being made at the bar on October 02, 2022.