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'The city just needs to change' | Girlfriend calls for Atlanta nightlife to step up safety after arrest made in security guard killing

Aaliyah Strong said her boyfriend, Ty Ross, was killed while protecting others.

ATLANTA — After losing her boyfriend in a hookah bar shooting, a woman said an arrest in his killing is not enough and she is now calling on Atlanta area nightclubs to step up security and safety for their staff.

Atlanta Police announced Thursday they had made an arrest in the shooting death of Tyshon "Ty" Ross. The 28-year-old was working as a security guard at the Encore Hookah Bar and Bistro off Luckie Street.

Aaliyah Strong, Ross' girlfriend, said though someone is now facing charges, she doesn't think the circumstances surrounding Ross' death have properly been addressed.

"I just really, like it's really unfortunate the way the club has handled everything. The owners, the owner of the security team. Nobody wants to make a statement," she said.

Ross started working at Encore Hookah Bar and Bistro a week before he was killed to make some extra money to pay bills, Strong said. She also worked with him as a server. The two met at the bar and became close, eventually dating and were living together.

Police said Ross asked a man to leave the club, the two got into a dispute and shots were fired. Ross was taken to the hospital where he later died. According to the medical examiner's office, he was shot several times.

"They wanted to open the day after," she said about those who operate the hookah bar. "I struggled to even get the funeral."

Strong said she had to rely on other funding sources to help give Ross a proper memorial and found little help to do so. 

"Nobody wants to take accountability for what's happening," she said. "I just want justice for Ty."  

Strong has previously described Ross as a charismatic, genuine, humble person, adding that he was like a stepfather to her 4-year-old son. Strong said the night he was killed, the bar was very crowded. She added that though Ross was hired to help keep people safe, no one at the bar was willing to make sure he was supported.

"It's a slap in the face -- like somebody lost their life protecting," she said. "It just has to stop at nightclubs in Atlanta in general, something has to be done."

She said part of the issue is the lack of insurance and concern for employees, adding that there's no accountability.

"Obviously, we didn't plan for something like this to happen," she said. "But it's like, you would think after all the shootings, everything that's occurred over here."

She said Ross' death was being treated like a casualty, while for her, it's been an emotional rollercoaster. Learning to live without Ross and his support has been tough, but she said she's also taking on the challenge to create change. 

"I want something to be done so that no other family has to experience," she said. "I know it's far from the end because, you know, the city just needs to change." 

Strong said she has already held a balloon release to honor Ross but she wants to plan a peaceful protest for families who have lost someone to gun violence. 

"I am glad that somebody, you know, was arrested today, but it's not the end," she said. "We have a lot of work to do."

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