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Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gunshots at bar revive safety issues

May 16, 2006

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Chris Smith was upstairs in a VIP area when he heard the seven gunshots and a bullet ricochet near him early Sunday inside Last Call, 729 N.H.

He didn't see what led to the shots being fired, but he has a theory.

"Only thing I can think of is the same thing that's every week: You've got people from different cities in Kansas. You've got people from Kansas City that represent one gang, and you've got people from Topeka that represent one gang," said Smith, 29, of Topeka, who was at the club taking pictures for a photography business. "All these people are different gangs, different nationalities. : When they're drunk and they're all in there throwing gang signs up and the songs are promoting violence, that's usually what happens."

No one was injured in the early-morning shooting, which caused an estimated 200 people to flee into the street. But it's the latest in a string of violent incidents related to downtown Lawrence nightclubs, and Smith said city leaders "should definitely not turn their head" on the issue.

"The more you've got out-of-towners coming, when they come they bring their attitude with them," he said. "It doesn't mix when you've got a nice setting like Lawrence, how it normally is. When they have these parties, they're broadcasting them to everyone because they're trying to get the dollars.

"I've been going to Lawrence for a while, and I've never had problems until the past year."

An officer was on routine patrol about 2 a.m. Sunday when he heard what sounded like gunshots in the club and went to investigate. Police said they recovered seven shell casings in all. They interviewed witnesses but weren't able to find a suspect.

"Seven shots fired inside a bar? It is a miracle nobody got hurt," City Commissioner Sue Hack said.

Since the beginning of the year, guns have repeatedly been found in parking lots near Last Call. Brawls also have erupted at Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., and a February shooting outside the Granada, 1020 Mass., left one man dead.

The city recently approved a change to make its ordinance prohibiting guns near bars more specific, but Hack said city employees were looking to see what else could be done.

"I think we've got to take a stronger look at protecting our citizens and those who call Lawrence home for whatever period of time they're here," she said.

Dennis Steffes, owner of Last Call, did not return phone calls Monday seeking comment. He previously has said security inside the club is top-notch and that he wasn't responsible for what people do on the way to or from his club.

Smith said he'd observed that people who come to the club early in the night are not subject to rigorous searches on their way in, as are those who arrive after 10 p.m. or so. He said he suspected the shooter in Sunday's incident had come to the club early.

Asked for his opinion about the security situation at Last Call, Mayor Mike Amyx said, "I think we need to talk about downtown as a whole."

Of the shooting, he said, "This just can't be tolerated."

LaTonia Coleman, widow of Robert Earl Williams, who was killed in February outside the Granada, has called for the city to impose stricter regulations that require stronger security at larger nightclubs.

"The security has to be improved. There's no way around it," she said Monday. "It's gotten out of hand."

Last Call

Comments

in_the_worst_spot 7 years, 11 months ago

Very well stated 'Infidel213'! I agree with your comments one hundred percent...Let the 'mafia' help hold Steffes' head above water when the damn breaks. The fury will hit Last Call when he realizes that the only people coming back to that bar is going to be the people who are OK with the violence, which just makes them a part of the problem. And since security will be hightened (I hope), they will find each other outside and finish the job. Only if Mil-Spec (needle pushers) doesn't make them bleed first. -

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Infidel213 7 years, 11 months ago

O.K. hold on a second, we need to understand the whole story here. A lot of you have some very good ideas but unfortunately we can't just act on inhibitions. first let's just say that Steffes is a douche bag who is stuck in the 80"s that wouldn't know how to run a bar if it hit him in the face. He does own the two worst bars in town. Pretty sad when you own two bars and can't get any customers! His wanna-be "mafia" , drug dealer image is absolutely hilarious.

The city can't just shut him down. If they shut him down then they would have to shutdown Abe & Jake's and The Granada to be fair. With last call it just isn't that simple. The city faces a great risk by just shutting Last Call down. Look at the clientele; African American. Talk about a touchy situation. Can you say NAACP? He's a coward and it wouldn't be a stretch for Steffes to pull the "Race" card. Also, look at how he fought the smoking ban. He is STILL in court beating a dead horse. Do you really think he cares how much money he spends to fight the city? Just because they find guns in cars "around" Last Call means absolutely nothing. It ISN'T illegal to cary a gun in your car. What is illegal is that these people are felons with guns.....not Steffes' problem. I have heard that the Bottleneck did not renew their lease. Also, there is talk of the city demolishing the whole block and re-building. Steffes does not own the building but it will be very difficult for the city to kick him out; at least not without a huge lawsuit. I think that they city is just compiling a log of all the bullsh*t that happens at Last Call so they have a case that will hold water. Make him a public nuisance and shut him down.

As far as the dress code issue, you are missing one thing; Steffes WANTS these people in his bar. He specifically targets his clientele because nobody else will go there. I think they used to have a dress code when it was Tremors but now anything goes. He doesn't care what the repercussions are. He is a dweeb, but he is also fairly bright. He knows the city can't really touch him for anything. After all, what has he actually done that justifies or even warrants LEGALLY shutting him down? I'm sure everyone in this city would love that but we have to look at this realistically. There are legal procedures that have to be followed. My thoughts are that all the drugs and VIP dope smoking, minors, gunshots and all the other bullsh*t will bite him in the ass when it comes time to renew his license.

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getserious 7 years, 11 months ago

There is a reason that you don't get patted down at the Wheel, Quinton's, Louise's West. Yes, there is an occasional fight there, but it is usally beer induced, frat boy, chest bumping variety. When you cater to the hip hop crowd, you are asking for trouble. Abe and jakes, numerous incidents. Jazz house, stopped hip hop night. Brother's, had major problems. Granada, someone got killed on hip hop night. The Moon Bar, ask J.r. Giddens about that. Last call, I don't even have to say anything. This is not censorship, it is common sense. If you want downtown Lawrence to be a crown jewel for the city, then you need to protect it. Rap and hip hop are destroying downtown's reputation.

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underground_voice 7 years, 11 months ago

Well tell mil spec security to get off there butts and do there job. Its sad last call has armed security and they didn't do anything.

The owner of mil spec was inside when the gun was fired. No one saw anything/anyone, he must have been under a table in fear.

Mr. Steffes fire your security and put cardboard cut outs out in front of your club, more will get done and it will save you money. Line your pockets big man.

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

As far as the bar, the shooter and the city ordinances; one would think a lot of thought should go into all three. Obviously it is a problem.

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree with fletch. People will only bring into the bar what they are allowed to bring in. I as well know for a fact that they do not ALWAYS do pat downs on everyone. Well obviously they don't or there wouldn't have been a shooting INSIDE the bar.

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fletch 7 years, 11 months ago

Okay, first off, not everybody is patted down. I've been two Last Call twice in the last year and neither time have I been patted down. Of course, I'm skinny and white, so maybe I'm not a threat to some people. Both times have been after 10 PM and both times have been weekends.

Second, assuming the pat-down policy has gotten better since I've been there, somebody still managed to get a gun in. It doesn't matter whether he just wanted to aim at the ceiling. A ricochet can still hurt/kill somebody. And the next guy might just be aiming at somebody in particular.

So I'll say this to anybody working at Last Call: Tell your boss to invest in a freaking metal detector wand, because your pat downs aren't working.

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in_the_worst_spot 7 years, 11 months ago

I was in the bar at the time of the shooting... I do frequent Last Call every Saturday night... I do not drink, smoke, or like the music... I am an employee!

I could have been killed on Saturday night! One of my fellow employees could have been killed!

Who give a s*it about the owner? Who cares about the patrons? Who protects the very people that try to hurt us?

I do/did!

Don't give the bar, the shooter, the city ordinances, or anything else another thought...It won't change anything!

Stop the sad whine I keep hearing...It is very pathetic!

I know everyone here is going to ask why I work at such a dangerous place...Well: Mom told me to got a job!

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

"Yes I was. I was mainly talking about the statement that security is different depending on what time of the night it is. Everyone who comes in to drink or dance is patted down. (at 10:00, at 11:00, and so on).*ONCE AGAIN, NOT EVERYONE, EVERYTIME* I should have made that more clear, however he has a lot of nerve talking about the great staff that work very hard every weekend to make the patrons visit as safe as possible. The shell casings were on the other side of the club from the vip area in question. You're right, that doesn't mean one didn't ricochet across the club."

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lawrencebartender 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes I was. I was mainly talking about the statement that security is different depending on what time of the night it is. Everyone who comes in to drink or dance is patted down. (at 10:00, at 11:00, and so on). I should have made that more clear, however he has a lot of nerve talking about the great staff that work very hard every weekend to make the patrons visit as safe as possible. The shell casings were on the other side of the club from the vip area in question. You're right, that doesn't mean one didn't ricochet across the club.

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

"the cover charge for last call is: over 21 $5, males under 21 $15, and women under 21 $10. Everyone is patted down when entering last call even if they just go outside to smoke.*NOT EVERYONE-EVERYTIME This is the shooting incident to ever happen there. The only reason it happened is because some idiot thought it would be funny to fire his gun at the ceiling. The guy quoted in the article about hearing bullets go past his head is full of it.*WERE YOU STANDING NEXT TO HIM?The shots were not fired at people just the ceiling.*HELLO-SHOTS FIRED IN AN ENCLOSED SPACE DONT NEED TO BE FIRED--AT YOU--FOR YOU TO BE AFFECTED!It was just one idiot with a gun.*HOW MANY IDIOTS WITH GUNS DOES IT TAKE TO INJURE SOMEONE? I would also like to add the drinks are not cheap, and raising them would not help. These kids from K.C. have plenty of money to spend."

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compmd 7 years, 11 months ago

lawrencebartender, were you at the shooting? you should know that calling another witness a liar in a public forum isnt the best idea.

also, how do you know a bullet didnt ricochet unless you actually saw the shooter and the location of each slug is known?

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lawrencebartender 7 years, 11 months ago

meant to say "This is the 1st shooting incident to ever happen"

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lawrencebartender 7 years, 11 months ago

the cover charge for last call is: over 21 $5, males under 21 $15, and women under 21 $10. Everyone is patted down when entering last call even if they just go outside to smoke. This is the shooting incident to ever happen there. The only reason it happened is because some idiot thought it would be funny to fire his gun at the ceiling. The guy quoted in the article about hearing bullets go past his head is full of it. The shots were not fired at people just the ceiling. It was just one idiot with a gun. I would also like to add the drinks are not cheap, and raising them would not help. These kids from K.C. have plenty of money to spend.

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anonimiss 7 years, 11 months ago

Create a new law imposing fines on the bar for violent behavior at bars. Then use the money to pay for police officers at the doors of those bars. If they won't willingly pay for better security, force them to pay for better security.

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

"I used to bartend at a local bar that would have hip-hop nights occasionally, and trust me, it's the same crowd at every event... from my experience, it doesn't matter how much the drinks cost, this crowd will drink only one, MAYBE two a piece, and RARELY tip. Very irritating."

---I used to bartend at a local bar that had hip-hop night every night. Different crowds, not always the same, drank alot and tipped well. In my experience.

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fletch 7 years, 11 months ago

My best hope is that the cops finally catch one of these people and prosecute them to the full extent. Nail them for public intoxication, drunk and disorderly, assault, assault with a deadly weapon, discharging a firearm indoors, attempted manslaughter, etc. Anything they can think of that will stick. Don't plea bargin anything. Put that guy on every news outlet in Lawrence, KS, and Topeka. Put him in jail for a decade or two. Make a firm stand that if you do something this stupid in Lawrence, you're going away for a long time.

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dncinnanc 7 years, 11 months ago

offtotheright:

I used to bartend at a local bar that would have hip-hop nights occasionally, and trust me, it's the same crowd at every event... from my experience, it doesn't matter how much the drinks cost, this crowd will drink only one, MAYBE two a piece, and RARELY tip. Very irritating.

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Confrontation 7 years, 11 months ago

Thomgreen: I used to go to the early days of Hip Hop Jamz Sunday at the Jazzhaus (2001). One of my friends promoted the event. From what I understand, they shut it down recently because it got too dangerous and overcrowded. Some of my friends saw weapons in there, and everyone that I know stopped going. They could have re-opened the event, though.

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offtotheright 7 years, 11 months ago

daddax98, why don't you tell me how much the Last Call charges for their cover, and their top shelf drinks.

That was my question you know.

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thomgreen 7 years, 11 months ago

I'll be more than happy to keep telling myself that, since I often go there for a multitude of shows. It is still the best place in Lawrence to see a concert. And yes, I've been to Last Call, and even though I grew up around that type of crowd doesn't mean I feel comfortable with that crowd. I've never felt like I was in mortal danger in the Granada, Louise's, Harbor Lights, the Jazzhaus, Henry's, or The Sandbar. I can't say the same about Last Call. As for the argument regarding the music, the Jazzhaus has hip hop night every Sunday night, I don't recall anything getting out of hand there, and they have little to no security.

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one_more_bob 7 years, 11 months ago

"the best part about this is didn't we recently pass a bill where you can carry a concealed weapon? Imagine how fun that should be when the law is put into effect..lawrence hasn't seen anything yet." Read the law, a permit holder will not be able to legally carry a concealed handgun into a bar.

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

"whats the common theme in all these incidents?

ding ding ding!!

thats right- Hip Hop!*ALCOHOL AND LACK OF SECURITY*

argue all you want rap fans -but thats the truth. period."

---By that theory, EVERY bar that EVER plays rap, is GUARANTEED to have a shooting.....

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

Mushfish:

Maybe you never saw The Blues Brothers. They played in a very violent bar, and that place played BOTH kinds: country and western.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm pretty sure that alcohol is also a common theme.

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pippens_return 7 years, 11 months ago

whats the common theme in all these incidents?

ding ding ding!!

thats right- Hip Hop!

argue all you want rap fans -but thats the truth. period.

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Shane Garrett 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey, quick draw. I think you might be on to something. But then I do enjoy the old days; when one simply drove by and used a tommy gun to get their point across.

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local_support 7 years, 11 months ago

What's annoying is The Granada getting lumped in with Abe & Jakes and Last Call. The Granada is nothing like those other places."

Keep telling yourself that. The Granasty belongs right up there with the rest of the offenders.

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znsh18 7 years, 11 months ago

To Fatty_McButterpants I have & never going back in there again. Hey I still like to go to Java Break on Saturday night to get some coffee after hours. Maybe next shooting will be there at Java Break or Eldridge Hotel. Any gurantee?!

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

But wait, what if EVERYONE assumes EVERYONE else is armed and fears being shot first, so they shoot first for fear of being shot first and then you have mass hysteria and then everyone is shot because everyone else thought that everyone else was going to be shot first so they shot first. Nah, we don't live in a world like that.

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admills 7 years, 11 months ago

I know, we should let everyone carry a gun. BUT, the gun should be hidden. Then, it would be assumed that everyone else is armed. (follow me on this) If one believes everyone is armed, then they are less likely to pull out their gun for fear of retaliation (kind of like the nuclear deterrent theory). So even if, or ESPECIALLY if you're under the influence of drugs and alcohol your common sense will prevail and you will not use your weapon. Brilliant! Okay, one last step... we must make it simple to obtain this hidden gun permit. GOT IT! Simply mandate one 8 hour "safety" course for this permit. See. Isn't that easy. Take home message: Arm everyone, then no one gets shot.

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TtownKUlivin 7 years, 11 months ago

OKay, I used to live it up at Last Call every saturday and I've been back a few times with some friends of mine. I have seen the crowd on saturday many times and the only thing that would happen would be fighting, usually between a couple girls, nothing too extreme. Thats the crowd I'm used to though and I have to say, this was probably due to either a past occurrence outside of the bar and they saw each other at the bar or it was all about testoserone and who was the bigger man after one bumped into the other..the best part about this is didn't we recently pass a bill where you can carry a concealed weapon? Imagine how fun that should be when the law is put into affect..lawrence hasn't seen anything yet.

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fletch 7 years, 11 months ago

Abe and Jake's size is not an excuse for the violence happening there. Yes, if you put that many people together in a confined space with loud music and drinking, fights are going to happen. I know that. You know that. Abe and Jake's owner knows that, too. The difference is he is building his business model around it and has the power to intervene. The people that manage Arrowhead stadium know guys are going to get rowdy and drunk, that's why they have an army of security gaurds on patrol to stop it. Yet every time it seems like Abe and Jake's strategy is to just let the riot occur, or to throw the offending parties into the parking lot and let the cops sort it out. That's idiotic. They created the mess, they should have a hand in stopping it. If they can't, they need to have their maximum occupancy reduced or their liquor liscence revoked. When the cops have to come every weekend and multiple patrons get sent to LMH each weekend, it's no longer an isolated incident. It's poor management, and poor management with a liquor liscence is a really bad idea. It gets casual bystanders hurt. It gets cars damaged. It gets windows broken. In my mind, that's just as bad as what's going on at Last Call.

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mushfish 7 years, 11 months ago

Macon47..WE DO NEED TO CLEAN UP THAT PART OF TOWN it is across from Hobbs Taylor and we dont want that kind of trash going on. let them all go out to the bird and shoot each other then just dump the bodies in the kaw

It's started...the Hobbs Taylor snobbs are trying to clean up their little area. I'll be very sad when you people run off Bottleneck, La Familia..etc, because they're are not the snobby places that you wanna live nextdoor to. Quit being so high and mighty. What's wrong with "the bird", it's not a violent place. You are very confused. Go back to Macon!!

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mushfish 7 years, 11 months ago

If theres a shooting in a bar or similar violence, just force that bar to play nothing but country music for 3 months.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

PEOPLE are to blame for the violence. Play classical music at Last Call and you'll have no violence due to the lack of people.

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

On another note. I do not know if this is an ordinance or what the "legality" issues are concerning this. However, the Lawrence Police Department CAN and DOES give bars the option of (apparently at their own discretion)----If they have X number of calls to the police, they are responsible for contracting Mil-Spec. If they do not hire, their license is temporariliy revoked...until further notice. Now I have seen this done at 2 bars. So I know they can do it. My question is why is this not being done at Last Call? The bars I have seen it at were good ol fashion fist fights, just a lot of them, and apparently the police got tired of getting called to break them up. That is when the Mil-Spec thing came up. So why not Last Call, with all their violence. Hmmm something to ponder. Another little tid-bit, it was nice of the LJW to take ALL those pictures of ALL those police officers standing around--apparently hard at work. Good Job

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justanothervoice 7 years, 11 months ago

-----If you are going to use "common denominators", use them accurately. NOT ALL clubs that "pander to the Hip-Hop, Rap lifestyle" have constant, violence problems. Anytime you have "several" intoxicated people in one setting, you ARE going to have problems. Period. You have to take into consideration ALL the factors. Not just the ones people see fit to use. Such as the music, and or "culture". I used to work at a bar that (still) plays hip hop/rap music, that is all they play. Yes there have been a few scuffles, as I said though, you need to take into consideration ALL the factors. This particular club is opened 7 days a week, and has been open for YEARS. If it was the music/culture as everyone claims, I gather we would have ALOT more problems now wouldn't we.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm surprised. I would think that there would be restrictions on how big one's bar could be. Common sense says that the easiest way to control a mob is to not allow it to get to the size of a mob. Several hundred people drinking beer (not to speak of the effects of hormones) is a recipe for disaster regardless of what kind of music is being played.

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Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

If you can't blame the music for the violence, then play classical music at Last Call for the entire summer, and see how many fights there are.

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daddax98 7 years, 11 months ago

offtotheright, as usual you have no idea what you are talking about. Last Call charges more for cover and top shelf drinks then anybody in town

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Confrontation 7 years, 11 months ago

Posted by getserious: "Does anyone else see a common denominator here? All the clubs that pander to the Hip-Hop, Rap lifestyle have ALL the frickin problems and they are ruining downtown lawrence."

FYI: Every single dance club in town plays hip-hop and rap music. Most have a particular nights when most (if not all) of the music is this type. Check out Cadillac Ranch, Liquid, Brothers, Johnny's, Yacht Club, Jazz Haus, etc., etc. Even Coyote's plays some hip-hop. You can't blame the music for the violence, since most of these other places don't have all of these problems. Blame the idiot who runs Last Call, since he knows what he needs to do to curb violence. It would hurt his profit, so that's why he doesn't do it. Most young people don't like boring country music anymore. They're disgusted by tight Levi's.

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offtotheright 7 years, 11 months ago

How much does a top shelf drink cost at Last Call, or A&J's?

Raise the cover, and the drink prices! These thugs won't keep coming every Saturday night.

Ask the LPD to station one of theirs at the front door, for a couple of weekends in row!

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audvisartist 7 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't know the exact capacity, but yes, Abe & Jake's is that big.

I agree with those above who say that Last Call is in a class of it's own when it comes to causing problems. The Granada is not a bar where they sometimes have bands play, it is only open for specific events (tho some are weekly like Neon). Abe and Jake's also hosts different bands. In both cases, the crowd will differ by the type of music. Last Call, on the other hand, consistently attracts the same type of patrons and consistenly is associated with guns and/or gun violence.

Gotta say, after all this, I still feel perfectly safe downtown at any hour, except on a weekend night on the block where Last Call is located.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

Are you saying that A&J can hold 1,000 people?

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

I've only been in a few Lawrence bars, and never really during a peak time like Saturday night.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 11 months ago

I've been saying it for a long time and I'm glad to see echos here: Identify the problem "repeat offender" establishments, set criteria they are being judged on, set a reasonable timeframe for reduction in occurrences of those criteria, close the establishments that fail.

No one is in a better position to determine the why and how whereby a few businesses create a disproportionate share of public burdens than those businesses themselves. Let them judge what combination of security, admission policies, pricing, venue offerings, etc. will 'improve' the statistics monitored by the City.

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delta77 7 years, 11 months ago

Last Call is really in a class of its own here. The Granada had one incident possibly related to a hip-hop show, but they don't consistently have the kind of bad crowd that LC does.

I don't think Abe & Jakes is in the same class either. They have problems because of their massive occupancy. I think it's ridiculous that the last article which cited the number of incidents where police were called didn't talk about this. You get a crowd of 1200+ people together, there are going to be fights...guaranteed.

200 people should be manageable, especially with the kind of security Last Call has, yet they had nearly the same number of "incidents" as Abe & Jakes, despite being 1/5 the size.

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Fatty_McButterpants 7 years, 11 months ago

Just out of curiosity...how many of you have actually been to 'Last Call' on a Saturday night?

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Silence_Dogood 7 years, 11 months ago

What I think is funny is that Last Call has a VIP room. This is, after all, Lawrence.

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SeanMan 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey, why dont these bars adopt the same policy that Brother's did. Brothers used to have these same type of problems. Then Brother's imposed a dress code (no sideways caps, baggy clothes, jerseys, etc..) and the place has gotten much better. Bottom Line, the Brother's owner does not tolerate crap anymore and whenever I go there I see numerous people turned away at the door. Once they started to crack down the bar became much more friendly. Last Call and Abe & Jakes should learn from what Brother's did and follow that plan.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

Few small business plans include an expense line for "Lawsuits Against City". Let them sue! If they found that they were constantly in and out of court with the city, they'd either move or change. Being constantly "harassed" by the city (which IS what I'm proposing) would make them change.

Our citizens desire bars for "townies" and for college students. No one, outside of the bar owners, really wants a bar scene that relies on outside patrons. "Come to Lawrence, buy our products, eat in our restaurants; but when the sun goes down, go home."

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thomgreen 7 years, 11 months ago

Now you're starting to sound like Steven Levitt.

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Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

Isn't it an odd that the smoking ban and the increase in violence at the bars happened at the same time?

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thomgreen 7 years, 11 months ago

As much as I don't like Dennis Steffes (or his Don Johnson/Miami Vice look...could someone tell him that the 80's called and they want their pony tail back?), and I would like to see Last Call shut down, I think you have to set up some guidelines first before just arbitrarily shutting a business down. Legally, I don't think they can do it, though I might be wrong.
The city leaders need to sit down, draft clear and concise guidelines to attack these issues, and uphold them. Otherwise, arbitrarily closing this bar down, or not closing that bar down might open the city up to a lawsuit (but again, I'm not a lawyer and I don't know this for sure). And, I know I'm starting to sound like an employee there even though I'm not, but can we stop lumping the Granada in with the other two harbors of violence? I feel safer going there than I ever would places like Crosstown, Last Call, Abe & Jakes, 815 (sometimes), or Brother's.

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Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

Add a $2 surcharge on all drinks sold downtown. That should chase a few people off. Call it the Library tax.

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i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years, 11 months ago

I think the shooter was the guy who owns Abe & Jakes! I bet he was out trying to make Last Call look bad to take the negative attention off of his own bar!

But seriously, there should be minimum security requirements along with a gradual scale of increased requirements based on negative activity in each bar. But, I unfortunately don't think anything will change until a politician's kid is seriously hurt in one of these incidents.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

This is the problem: as much as we can make a solid arguement that hip-hop culture promotes violence, you can't outlaw hip-hop music. You have to create an environment where the CLUB OWNERS are forced to use more common sense then they presently using. We can't say "No more hip-hop", but we can demonstrate to them that we will not tolerate the kind of behaviors that hip-hop encourages. Then THEY will get the clue all on their own: "Maybe it would be a bad idea to make my bar feel like a BET music video."

If bar owners understand that we will shut them down at the drop of a hat, they will do what it takes to keep their venues safe. Whether it be more bouncers, less violent music, metal detectors... whatever. We don't need to dictate HOW they prevent the violence, we just need to make sure they understand that they DO NOT WANT the consequences of failing to prevent the violence.

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billyflay 7 years, 11 months ago

we need to look at what is done about this type of behavior in places like detroit, dc, and sierra leone,

there may be some methods used in those places that could apply here,

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CanadianPassport 7 years, 11 months ago

Does this really surprise anyone? Last Call employs an army of security guards exactly because they expect the kind of crowd that behaves this way.

Eventually the city will learn to discourage this kind of business from setting up shop.

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monkeywrench1969 7 years, 11 months ago

One of the biggest problems I have noticed is the clubs think once the people leave the club, they no longer are their responsibility. Security needs to monitor situations both inside and outside the clubs and if it is beyond their control call the police before the problems explode.

Some of the Topeka clubs have the police waiting in their parking lots 10 minutes before bar close and start pressing people to leave. There is less lingering time, less of a chance for people to run into each other in the parking lot who had problems in the club, they head more quickly to the after hours parties and

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75x55 7 years, 11 months ago

"Since the beginning of the year, guns have repeatedly been found in parking lots near Last Call. "

Gotta agree with kschick and oldguy - this is called a "nuisance" and places that draw flies like this need to be shut down. Permanently.

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hurlehey_boy 7 years, 11 months ago

The problem is still the security of the bar. Meatheads who used to work there will freak out on me again I'm sure, but look; if people are flashing gang signs kick them out. If people indicate they might bein a gang, don't let them in, Institute a dress code if you want to run hip hop shows. You'll get get called lots of names. Boo hoo. Buisiness in the long run will be better.in Kansas there is a right to refuse service law that was instituted for just this purpose. If none of this ever happens you can place blame squarely on the owner for NOT caring about his own establishments longevity.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

Most of these suggestions fail to recognize a key issue: this is, at it's core, a problem with nightlife CULTURE. Pat downs, metal detectors, etc are ways to address symptoms, but are they actual solutions?

KC Plaza nightlife (high brow) is not the same as Westport nightlife (drink till you puke), which is different from Lawrence nightlife (youth oriented), which is different from Junction City nightlife (back alley hookers). It's really not so much about how many bars we have, or if the patrons are from Lawrence or not, but it's about what we find tolerable. Why do these violent people come to Lawrence to party? Because the places in KC and Topeka where they would go either have not been able/allowed to stay in business, or they sent a message that said "we don't do THAT here".

City leaders: SEND A STRONG MESSAGE before more people die. Right now, we cannot safely go for dinner at Pachamama's or La Familia without having to dodge random gunfire.

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hipper_than_hip 7 years, 11 months ago

Revoke the Last Call liquor license for 60 days. Then allow it to resume liquor sales but with limited operating hours for 90 days. At the end of this 150 day period, require the owner to attend a hearing with the city regarding whether or not the Last Call will have it's liquor license/business license fully restored or completely revoked.

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znsh18 7 years, 11 months ago

I have a better solution. SHUT DOWN Last Call. Im sure you've noticed, after closing most of this activities are spreading on the other side of the road which is probably how the Granada incident happened. We dont need this kind of activities or places (like Last Call, Abe & Jakes) that promotes such in the first place. All these could end up affecting Quintens (the other side of the road) as well.

My theory, the longer it takes for us to response to such behavior, the more dangerous it will get. It's only encouraging the gansta to come back more & promote more violance.

We live in this city & it's a great city. We SHOULDN'T have to live in fear or chose places to go or not cuz they are not safe for us.

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macon47 7 years, 11 months ago

WE DO NEED TO CLEAN UP THAT PART OF TOWN it is across from Hobbs Taylor and we dont want that kind of trash going on. let them all go out to the bird and shoot each other then just dump the bodies in the kaw

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getserious 7 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone else see a common denominator here? All the clubs that pander to the Hip-Hop, Rap lifestyle have ALL the frickin problems and they are ruining downtown lawrence. Let's not sugarcoat this thing here. Granada, Abe and jakes and Last call need to go. I don't know why city leaders, and downtown leaders don't run these guys out. Once you get a bad reputation, as downtown is, it's hard to get it back. Act now.

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quitbitchin 7 years, 11 months ago

patdowns and metal detectors. no ball caps or colors. no large jackets or pants half off the *ss. that'd be a start.

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blue73harley 7 years, 11 months ago

Offer the gangstas all the tequila they can drink and send them to guard the border for George W.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

Here's a very pro-active way for the city leaders to deal with this: close down Last Call. Send a message to any and all who do or who would like to consider owning a bar in Lawrence: do what it takes to control your environment and take responsibility for every aspect of your business, or completely lose your investment when we just SHUT your sorry butt down. Some would say that's too extreme, that we need a "process" by which we address these situations. I say that a strong move such as this would change the CULTURE of Lawrence nightlife, which is what we need the most. Lengthy policies and laws that are easy to challenge and hard to enforce won't bring change as quickly. We need more "zero tolerance" thinking on this matter.

For you who will want to say "no, that's too much" I have this fact for you to dwell on: each bullet that left that gun could have resulted in a dead body. How would that play out?: "Seven dead in Lawrence rampage." "Worst mass killing since the sacking of Lawrence." "Lawrence: deadliest city in Kansas."

I grew up in "inner city" Wichita. We don't want to be that kind of city! We need civic leaders who will put an END to this sort of activity, whatever the cost.

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craigers 7 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if KC's city commission said that violence wouldn't be tolerated in their city as well. You can hire more security and pat down everybody if you want but I don't know how much that will change the amount of violence that occurs. And I just love the quote of saying "gangs from KC and gangs from Topeka" are what caused the problem. I am sure there are no problem children in Lawrence. I'm not defending Topeka or KC but to say all our problems come from those cities is a little narrow minded.

I honestly don't know what can be done to stop the violence in these nightclubs. Every guy thinks they are a stud when they go to these places, and with that testosterone flowing things might get out of hand.

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KSChick1 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe if it is documented that you as a bar owner have had some or several violent incidences, you should be SHUT DOWN. Saw where some bar was shut down for a year. That would stop the guns, drugs, violence, gangs, etc. Take away the places they frequent. Then wait for the gun carriers and gang bangers to come here to party and pen them up, maybe in Memorial Stadium since it's not that useful and let them shoot it out with each other there. End of Problem!

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small_fish_in_small_pond 7 years, 11 months ago

The City is still relunctant to do anything because they don't want to piss off Topeka and other potential tourists.

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RustyShackleford 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe this is a byproduct of nicotine withdrawal.

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thomgreen 7 years, 11 months ago

What's annoying is The Granada getting lumped in with Abe & Jakes and Last Call. The Granada is nothing like those other places. The incident outside of The Granada was an anomaly, but because it was such a violent anomaly people keep wanting to lump them in with those other repeat offenders.
But requiring all bars to pat down and use a wand on customers isn't feasible. Unfortunately, it's basically an issue of clientele. You get what you attract. I liked the idea someone put forth about measured steps depending on the number of incidents you have. The more incidents you have, the more measures you have to put in place to insure the safety of your patrons, until the final step is losing your liquor license.

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roadrunner 7 years, 11 months ago

The city has been aware of the outside gang problem for awhile, and have worked with KHP, OP, Lenexa and Olathe as well as Shawnee County to try to stop it. But just tell me, how they are going to stop it? You know where NOT to go at night. Let the idiots who choose to go where the guns are get shot and you go where you don't. I just don't see how they can prevent it 100%. They could do better searching at the door, I will admit, but then the poor security will just be the one getting waxed--is that any better?

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macon47 7 years, 11 months ago

seems like a simple solution, if you dont want to come home with a shirt full of bullet holes, stay out of the "bad places" you may have your "rights" but the other guy has the gun

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billyflay 7 years, 11 months ago

so what if a gang member or two gets shot or killed?

those non-gang members stupid enough to be there with them, well, you are on your own,

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xenophonschild 7 years, 11 months ago

I frequent Louise's West and most of our patrons are semi-elderly, but it seems like good sense for owners who attract a younger, gang-affiliated crowd to hire more security.

They may want to consider the issue of legal culpability: if someone were to be killed or injured in their place of business, and a trial lawyer could establish negligence on their part for not providing adequate security, they could take it in the neck.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

The question is how many more incidents must take place before the city recognizes this needs to get nipped in the bud?

Everything that likely will be said in this comment space has likely been said before.

Dennis Steffes, owner of Last Call, might not respond to any new requirements set forth by the city. He has some history of ignoring city ordinances.

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fletch 7 years, 11 months ago

Simple solution: draw a line in the sand and say if you have X number of violence or alcohol related incidents where the cops come within a certain timeframe, you are forced to hire additional security (which has to be certified) until that rate goes down. If you don't or you can't bring that rate down, you lose your liquor liscence because you're obviously not able to provide a safe environment for patrons and community members.

That way, if you're one of the bars that is a chronic offender (Last Call, Granada, Abe and Jakes... I'm looking at you), you have to clean up your act or shut down. If you're one of the bars that manages to keep your crowds in check (like The Bottleneck, Louise's, Replay), you can just keep on doing a good job without having to pay for extra security.

Either that or we ban everybody with a KC or Topeka driver's liscence under the age of 25 who doesn't have a KU, Baker, or Haskell ID.

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