Deputies raid Club Crush after repeated community complaints - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Residents say violent behavior at raided club infiltrates neighborhood

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It has been the site of repeated community complaints and, most recently, the location of at least two weekend shootings.

Now, Club Crush in Richland County is the center of a criminal crackdown.

Investigators raided the business on River Drive, revealing gambling, drugs, and repeated illegal activity.

Twice within a week, deputies were called to the club to investigate gunfire.

For the last three years, officers responded to at least 150 calls at the club. Investigators say many of them stemmed from aggravated assaults and weapons violations.

"I'd like to see it shut down," said president of the Earlewood Community Citizens Organization, Rebecca Haynes. "I think it's time."

Haynes lives down the street from Club Crush.

"I think they violated enough rules," she said. "I think we've seen enough problems. And like any good business that doesn't follow the rules, they should be forced to shut down especially with the level of violence."

Earlewood community members say the club's violent and illegal behavior is infiltrating their neighborhood.

"It's a hazard to the community," said Haynes. "It's a hazard to the people coming to their establishment, much less the residents around them."

At a neighborhood meeting Thursday night, Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson told the audience it's going to take time, but his office and law enforcement are working toward change.

"We start off not just by shutting the place down. The first thing we do is try to work with the business to try to get things under control," said Johnson. "They meet with them, they bring them in and talk to them about security. They try to encourage them to do the right things because ultimately we want businesses to comply with the law."

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said they've tried to talk to Crush owners about security and safety but no to avail.

"They've got alcohol stored in there, they're selling alcohol, which they don't have a license," said Lott. "They got poker machines going. It's just wide open. They're just basically slapping us in the face, daring us to do something."

Residents and law enforcement have been working together to document complaints and build a case against the club. In the meantime, they must wait on the legal system.

"We have to go in front of a judge and plead that they're a nuisance," said Lott. "And we have to show that we've sent a letter giving them 30 days to do certain things then come to court and show the problems that we've got and hope we have a judge that rules to lock the doors."

"We really like the location, we really like the sense of place, we like the feeling of community," said Haynes. "And this club has no place in it."

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