YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A person with ties to a venue where a shooting happened over the weekend is speaking out.
Brandon Brown is the event coordinator at Vibez Restaurant and Event Center on Midlothian Boulevard. It’s been open since last October and many people rent it out for events.
“Since last October, we’ve been holding all different types of events from Sweet 16s, bridal showers, kids’ birthday parties, we actually hosted a Juneteenth event for the community where we had over 200 people show up, we just had a Halloween party for the kids,” Brown said.
On December 12, a private party was held there. Brown said everything was going great.
“The event was great, the people in the party was great, there wasn’t one argument, there wasn’t one altercation,” he said.
Then, the security team heard a single gunshot. When they checked the parking lot, they found a man with a gunshot wound.
Brown said it was hard to even tell that something took place outside because everything inside was fine and there was no commotion.
“There was actually 15 minutes before we were really sure that somebody was shot, as a staff, because the guy actually walked away after — he didn’t run or fall, he actually walked away… We knew it was a shot fired but we didn’t know anybody got shot… My security walked around the parking lot and did further investigation and noticed the guy was shot and he was sitting at the side of his vehicle,” he said.
Brown said it is the center’s policy to have security for any event that will take place after 10 pm. and that they haven’t had any issues before.
“It’s a little disheartening to put so much work in to make sure you have a nice place and try to provide a safe atmosphere. Just all the work that’s put into that can be taken away by one person,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even say the person who had the party did anything wrong, they did everything they were supposed to do.”
Brown said it’s unfortunate how violence carried out by others impacts businesses in the community.
“It’s not an establishment problem, it’s a cultural problem and I just wish we could fix our culture because it gives businesses, it gives our city a black eye,” he said.
Brown said they handed over all evidence to the police and they are doing anything they can to cooperate. He even reached out to check on the victim.
He said Vibez Restaurant and Event Center will continue to provide a positive and welcoming environment to the community.