Two men followed Lewis and his party, which included Joseph Sweeting, Reginald Oakley and others, out of the Cobalt Lounge in Buckhead, an Atlanta suburb famous for its nightlife, for more than three blocks down East Paces Ferry Road. The men were baiting Lewis and his friends with a series of name-calling, trash talking and threats. Lewis’ friends jawed back.
Keep in mind that the two men who would be dead in a few short moments were the ones doing the pursuing. Ray Lewis and his friends were walking toward their vehicle.
By the time they got to the limousine, the words had escalated. Lewis, in the full view of everyone on the scene of the crime, was the peacekeeper. He was shepherding everyone into the car and begging them not to fight, to walk away.
The two guys who were stalking Lewis and his group of friends were not only outmanned nearly three to one, but they were half the size of any football player. One was 5-feet-2 and less than 125 pounds. What was he doing messing with these big guys? Did he have a weapon? A gun? Did they want to rob Ray Lewis?
Without question, Lewis was the guy on the scene who had the most to lose if there was any trouble. He had the money. He had the career. He had the fame.
As they finally turned to get into the car under Lewis’ direction – he physically was shoving his angry friends into the car – Sweeting reportedly was hit on the head by a champagne bottle and all hell broke loose.
Within 30 seconds there are two guys fallen in the street and Lewis and his friends are being shot at in their limousine speeding away. A tire is hit by a bullet and quickly going flat, and five minutes later Lewis is in the lobby of the Holiday Inn trying to figure out what has happened. There is blood in the limousine and all over his friends, but whose blood is it? It could be the blood of Sweeting, since his head is busted open. It could be the blood of the victims?
What happened next we might never know.
Lewis later testified that Sweeting and Oakley talked about hitting their guys. He was mum about the use of any weapons during the incident. Sweeting and Oakley certainly had weapons