Timeline of incidents at Club Axis/821 Club
- Battery charges filed in beating outside club (3-15-07)
- Man hospitalized after fight at Club Axis (9-16-07)
- Gun found in car near Axis (3-17-08)
- Man arrested in connection with double stabbing (3-9-09)
- Club Axis owner: Bar is being wrongly targeted (3-30-09)
- Police arrest man after incident outside Club Axis (4-19-09)
- Three detained after Sunday nightclub shooting (7-5-09)
Lawrence city leaders are seeking to shut down a Lawrence nightclub that's been connected to multiple accounts of violence, including a shooting Sunday morning in the parking lot that left a Topeka teenager wounded.
The establishment, 821 Iowa, has been the scene of several shootings and stabbings, including the May 2005 stabbing of former Kansas University basketball player J.R. Giddens. Known then as Moon Bar, the establishment has changed names and owners multiple times since.
In March 2007, it reopened as Club Axis under new ownership, but recently changed its name to 821 Club after a 25-year-old man was shot in the parking lot in March. Other violent incidents outside the bar include a double stabbing, an attack on a police officer and a brawl.
"We're aware of the situation, we continue to try to mitigate the violence," said Mayor Rob Chestnut.
The city said it has limited regulation over bars and nightclubs, which receive their liquor license from the state's Alcohol Beverage Control, an agency that only considers incidents that occur inside an establishment when determining whether to revoke a liquor license. The violence at the club has occurred in the parking lot.
But a 2008 lawsuit could put an end to the nightclub's operation altogether.
Jerry Cooley, a city attorney, said the city soon will ask a judge to enforce a December judgment that the facility not operate as a nightclub without filing a new site plan with the city. The lawsuit claimed the club is violating the city's zoning code because the nightclub's parking situation is inadequate.
"They continue to dance and operate it as a nightclub," said Cooley.
Chestnut said city commissioners also may look at implementing a licensing system to regulate bars and nightclubs.
"Right now we're working through the remedies that we do have and trying to make that process move forward as fast as possible," said Chestnut.
Operators of the bar have consistently said the accounts of violence have been blown out of proportion.
But some people have begun referring to the bar as "the new Last Call," referring to a nightclub that operated at 729 N.H., until three people were shot and injured outside. That followed an incident during which seven shots were fired inside the club.
A person, who refused to provide his name but said he helps operate 821 Club, said Sunday morning's shooting shouldn't be connected to the nightclub. He noted the shooting occured in the parking lot not the club.
Three people were arrested in connection with the shooting. The 18-year-old victim, from Topeka, was taken to a Kansas City area hospital, where an update on his condition was not available Monday. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said the case is under review.