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Neighbors Want Cross Lanes Bar Shut Down

Reported: Dec. 27, 2013 6:07 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 27, 2013 10:48 PM EST

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CROSS LANES, W.Va. (Leslie Rubin) - New details are coming to light after a shooting outside a bar temporarily closes the establishment.

State officials are now taking strong action they say is "in the interest of public safety."

Neighbors living near Appetizer's Restaurant and Lounge are also speaking out, hoping change is around the corner.

Eyewitness News has obtained the 911 radio traffic from the shooting Thursday morning, painting a clear picture of the chaos that was rapidly unfolding in the parking lot of Appetizer's.

"Large fight, approximately 50 people, just got reports of gun shots," a dispatcher said, just as the calls start to come in around 2:30 a.m.

A private Christmas party was being thrown in the downstairs portion of the establishment, known as "Shep's Lounge."

"Seven gunshots heard, from two different callers," another dispatcher said.

There were many more than seven shots fired, according to police. Evidence that is easy to see from every corner.

Several businesses were shot, car windows were shot out, bullet holes pierced cars, and shattered glass lined the parking lot. Just up the street, police found Carlo Gray, 22, of St. Albans suffering a gunshot wound to the leg inside a van that had also been shot at.

"Broken glass, gun shot back, I got four occupants," an officer who pulled over the van getting onto I-64 said.

"My main concern right now, is just my kids don't feel safe," Tracy White said.

Directly behind Appetizer's is a small residential street with a handful of houses. White lives here with her husband and three sons. All three of the boys suffer from Autism. She said her youngest son, who is 12, refuses to stay at the house since the shooting Thursday morning.

"He does have autisim, it's white and black for him, there's no gray area. He sees danger and he leaves," she said.

White said the problems lie inside the bar underneath Appetizer's, Shep's Lounge, both owned by the same person.

"He does listen to us. I mean, it's not like he's standing his ground (saying) 'I belong here.' He's not. He's very understanding, but he wouldn't want this across the street from his house," she said.

The ABCA has suspended Appetizer's private club license for 10 days as a "cooling off period," saying it's in the "best interest of public safety."

Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper is asking the ABCA to have a public hearing before giving their license back.

He points out that recent incidents at Charleston bars resulted in the businesses shutting their doors.

"They immediately complained about it, and eventually those bars are put out of business. I'm not saying Cross Lanes is being treated differently, but they certainly have a right to be treated seriously," Carper said.

White is just hoping someone takes notice before it's too late.

"He's a man trying to support his family, just like we do, but his establishment is effecting my family at this point," she said.

A manager of Appetizer's said the owner did not wish to do any on camera interviews.

Mike Shepherd released a statement on Thursday, following the shooting.

"The event was marred by an altercation between two guests," the statement read. "Our staff handled
the problems properly at that time, restoring order and escorting the involved
parties out. In the early morning hours of December 26th, outside the facility in the parking
lot, the individual parties that were at odds and their groups, re-started their
altercation with the use of firearms."

"It is with great sadness that Shep's Lounge will suspend operations for a
limited time so that an investigation may fully determine what transpired and take all
necessary precautions to insure that this type of action does not occur again."

"Shep's Lounge, and it’s sister facility, Appetizer's Restaurant, are
family-owned establishments and Cross Lanes is our community."

"We are as saddened and alarmed by these intrusive and irresponsible actions as
our neighbors surely are, and will work with law enforcement to make certain all
parties are held accountable for their actions."

"Though this was an isolated event and not consistent with any past occurrences,
Shep's Lounge will review its policy on Private Parties and take any actions we
feel are in the best interest of the safety and welfare of our patrons," wrote Shepherd.

A daycare is being build beside the establishment, something else that concerns several people living in the area.

No arrests have been made. If you have any information call Kanawha County deputies at 304-357-0169.

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