COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott had several strong words against the Black Pearl, the scene of a shooting early Wednesday morning where two Columbia brothers were killed.
Lott says the Black Pearl frustrates him and that the club is operating as an illegal strip club, which likely was the cause of the shooting.
He says the club's "abuse of the system" and its continued profiteering on "blood money" allows its continued operation, despite his desire to shut it down.
But Lott's desire to shutter the club cannot happen, he says, unless there is a retooled county ordinance.
It's a crime, Lott said, he saw coming.
Following the shooting Wednesday morning, Lott said he reached out to Richland County attorneys to see if he could personally put a "damn padlock on the place" himself.
The county attorneys told him no.
The owner and the attorney for the Black Pearl say they are devastated and just as shocked as everyone else. Their hearts go out to the victims' families. The Black Pearl will voluntarily remain closed throughout the investigation.
The Black Pearl will also reassess the way it does business to determine if there's anything it did that led to the crime.
The sheriff's department posted an impassioned tweet Wednesday evening, calling for an end to senseless violence like this shooting.
If you have any information about this shooting, you are urged to contact Crimestoppers by calling 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372) or visiting www.midlandscrimestoppers.com or www.p3tips.com and click on the "submit a tip" tab. Your identity will be kept anonymous, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.