COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Following the violence that unfolded on the streets of the city's Vista early Saturday, plenty of attention has been focused on the one business facing action for what happened.
The Columbia Police Department chained the doors of Empire Supper Club and Lounge on Lady Street on Saturday, declaring the club a public nuisance. Responders rushed to the Vista after getting a report of shots fired near the club. A total of eight people were wounded by the gunfire.
CPD is now arguing that the club has violated the city's public nuisance ordinance and officials are now looking to have it permanently closed down.
"You know maybe we should look at a real cure to help end this epidemic here in Columbia, but to create a false sense of safety by shutting down a business that's not fair," club owner Joseph Stovall said.
"For a criminal to commit a criminal act and the city thinks it's okay to just shut down a business, I don't get that," Stovall added.
Stovall added that he has spent a lot of years working to attract new customers to the Empire club since taking ownership of its building. Businesses that have operated at the same location at 920 Lady Street have had cases of criminal violence in the past.
In 2010, four people were shot outside of Club Ice after a fight broke out there. In late 2014 when the business was called 'Lucky 13' another shooting broke out near the club resulting in a person being hit in the leg.
Stovall said he did not become the owner of the business until 2014.
"We always had an ample amount of security to make sure that our crowd was safe. We spent two years open and operating without incident," he said.
A hearing to discuss the business license for the club will take place Tuesday. According to CPD, it will not be open to the public.