Homicide at Southern Kumfort nightclub

Allison B. Hudson

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeffrey Wiley reports the arrest of a Prairieville man following a fight at the exotic dance club, Southern Kumfort, located on Airline Highway in North Ascension Parish.

This is the second homicide that has occurred at this establishment in the past three years. Since the 2008 homicide the exotic dancer’s establishment was sold and is under new ownership and management.

In the late evening hours of May 3, 2011 Ascension Parish authorities responded to a call at Southern Kumfort regarding a fight that has just occurred. Upon deputies arrival they found an individual just outside the front door of the establishment unresponsive. This individual was identified as Willis Tanner of St. Amant. Medical personnel immediately arrived on scene and began performing resuscitation.

Investigators learned that a verbal altercation began inside the business between an individual identified as Zachary Pusch of Prairieville and a female. A bouncer attempted to diffuse the altercation and was pushed by Pusch. The Southern Kumfort owner, Steve Duke, and a bouncer escorted Pusch outside where a patron of the establishment, Willis Tanner, began a verbal altercation with Pucsh. As Tanner walked toward Pusch he punched Tanner knocking him to the ground.

A bystander began rendering aid to Tanner who was still on the ground, but conscious. As the bouncer attempted to restrain Pusch he pushed the bouncer again, broke away and began kicking and jumping on Tanners head repeatedly until Tanner lost consciousness.

Upon authorities arrival Pusch was still on scene and taken into custody pending further investigation. The investigation revealed that twenty-year-old Pusch was employed by Southern Kumfort on this particular night and was allegedly being paid by the owner by means of serving him alcoholic beverages in lieu of money. This matter is still under intense investigation and criminal charges may be forth coming as it relates to the sell of alcohol to persons under twenty-one.

Willis Tanner, 28, of 8531 New River Road St. Amant, was rushed to a Baton Rouge hospital where he was pronounced dead as a result of the beating.

Zachary Pusch, 20, of 16391 Joe Sevario Road Prairieville, Louisiana was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He is currently being held without bond in Ascension Parish jail. Zachary had one previous arrest stemming back to an incident in August 2010 where he was arrested by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office for second-degree battery.