Another bar patron stabbed; mayor riled at nightclub
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Another stabbing in downtown Charleston has city officials again calling for the closure of a Capitol Street nightclub.
A man was stabbed multiple times in the abdomen about 3 a.m. Sunday, a Metro 911 dispatcher said, but it wasn't clear if the man was stabbed inside of Impulse nightclub or just outside. The bar is at 205 Capitol St.
The incident is the latest in a history of violence surrounding the bar. Mayor Danny Jones, who has called for the bar's closure in the past, said Sunday afternoon he would have an attorney contact Impulse owner Janet Amores.
"It's just another incident at the crime factory," Jones said about the incident.
Jones used similar language to describe Impulse after a man and his cousin were violently attacked outside the bar in December.
Police said Larry Martin, 23, had been standing at the bar trying to order drinks when he was stabbed four times - once in the neck and three times in the back. His cousin, Joseph Lucas, 27, apparently tried to help but was struck in the head with a beer bottle. The club then emptied out and there was confusion as officers encountered both men outside of the bar.
When asked if he still wanted the bar to close after Sunday morning's incident, Jones replied, "I wish they'd never opened."
Details, including the victim's identity and whether there were any suspects, were not immediately clear. Detectives were not available for comment.
The nightspot opened in 2007.
Jones initially balked at the idea of another nightclub opening where the troubled Banana Joe's had operated but Janet Amores, the ex-wife of a former Kanawha delegate, assured him her club would be nothing like that.
Police Chief Brent Webster said the victim told officers the incident started inside the bar.
"It's my understanding it started with an altercation in the bar and then worked its way back outside," Webster said.
He said despite the multiple stab wounds, the victim was expected to survive. The man was being treated at a local hospital.
Robert Parsons, Impulse manager, said the incident occurred on the corner of Quarrier and Capitol streets. He said the victim, who he described as a football player at the University of Charleston, had been in the establishment but wasn't involved in any fighting with anyone.
He believes the mayor has a vendetta against the bar.
"The mayor wants to single us out," Parsons said. "It's on us. He wants to threaten to shut us down, again.
"On the inside we've done everything we're supposed to. I can't help the actions of those outside."
Parsons said there were no fights inside the bar Saturday night and that they typically have last call at about 2:45 a.m. He said they had an OK crowd Saturday evening.
He said he thought more police would help. The bar typically hires officers to stand out in front of the bar on Thursday nights when there's "more of an urban crowd" at the establishment.
Webster said officers try to "camp out" in that area as much as possible but that they also have a responsibility to the rest of the city.
"We cannot babysit that place," Webster said. "For years we've tried to maintain a presence down there but when you've got that many people and you add alcohol there are going to be problems. But we're not seeing that level of disturbances anywhere else but at Impulse.
"We're not having knock down drag out fights at the other bars like we're having there. At Impulse it seems to be the rule instead of the exception and it makes downtown look bad and it makes Capitol Street look bad."
When asked if he thought the bar should close, he said he'd like to see someone "start fresh" and put another business into that location.
Jones said such incidents hurt other businesses on Capitol Street.
"It's not fair to the other business owners who run good, clean establishments," he said.
He said the city is still looking at how to handle the situation. The Alcohol Beverage Control Administration was notified of the December incident. The agency can fine, temporarily suspend or revoke an establishment's liquor license if they're found to be a public nuisance.
The bar has been the scene of trouble in the past.
A fight at Impulse involving about 20 people spilled out onto Capitol Street in May. As a result, a large storefront window down the block at Ellen's Homemade Ice Cream was shattered.
A security guard working at the club in 2008 was shot in the leg with a .22-caliber rifle.
Amores, the club's owner, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at email@example.com or 304-348-4850.