Officials shut down nightclub


Staff Writer

Thursday, February 28, 2019

State authorities have shuttered a local nightclub after two women were seriously injured over the weekend with the suspect still on the lam.

Studio 169 Lounge at 169 S. Wesleyan Blvd. has been closed. Alcohol Law Enforcement agents were called in by the Rocky Mount Police Department after a shooting late Saturday night.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement for their close working relationship with the Rocky Mount Police Department,” said Interim Police Chief George Robinson. “The results in this recent case are an excellent example of the hard work by the local N.C. ALE special agent and our department's Bars, Taverns, and Night Clubs liaison in reducing violent crime at our area nightclubs.”

The shooting began in the VIP area of the nightclub after an altercation between female patrons. One patron was struck by gunfire and another was injured while crawling through broken glass in an attempt to escape the shooter. The shooter fled prior to officers' arrival and remains at large, according to information from ALE.

Police were called to Studio 169 Lounge, which has been open for business less than a year, back in September after a fight inside the nightclub led to a shooting in the parking lot.

ALE special agents found club owner Donald Richardson had only a handful of security officers for a crowd of over 300 patrons Saturday night. After multiple injuries and two shootings, Richardson admitted he did not want to be responsible for a third incident and voluntarily surrendered his ABC permits to ALE, said Bryan House, ALE's acting director.

“ALE special agents work towards public safety everywhere alcohol is sold,” House said. “When the continued risk of crime and violence is present at a location, the ongoing sales of alcoholic beverages can greatly increase the danger. We hope this action provides a permanent solution.”

ALE’s has aout100 specially trained agents with the authority to arrest and take investigatory action for any criminal offense. Their primary responsibility is the enforcement of Alcoholic Beverage Control laws and state lottery laws. ALE is a branch of the State Bureau of Investigation.

The shooting investigation is ongoing with the Rocky Mount Police Department as they seek to locate and apprehend the shooter.

Anyone with information about the incident can contact the police department at 252-972-1411, Twin County Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111 or text a tip to police at 274637 by beginning messages with RMPOL to direct the tip to the police department and type up to 155 characters about the information. All texts remain anonymous.