YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees said Wednesday he is meeting with the law department to determine if any action can be taken against a west side bar that has attracted a lot of complaints and arrests or incidents outside the premises.
The latest incident happened about 10:05 p.m. when a woman in a passing car was grazed by a bullet fired during an exchange of gunfire between two vehicles across the street from the All-City Sports Bar on Mahoning Ave.
Earlier this month, the bar received three citations from the Ohio Investigative Unit for violations of state guidelines for bars and restaurants to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brandon Brown, the owner of the bar, said two of those citations were written for people who were outside on the sidewalk.
Brown says when the state originally shut down for the virus in March and only allowed bars to serve takeout food, he was visited four times and was in compliance every time.
Lees said residents have been complaining about parking, litter and other issues.
A man was shot in the stomach outside the bar in July and two men who were parked outside the bar were arrested on gun charges within the past two weeks.
In November 2018, a man was shot inside the bar and died on the sidewalk. A suspect pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and is serving a 14-year prison sentence.
Brown noted that he cooperated fully with police when the homicide took place, allowing them access to anything they needed, including security footage. The killing resulted from a previous feud between two men and had nothing to do with the bar, he said.
On Saturday, Dominique Luckey, 31, was arrested after officers responded to a parking complaint on North Lakeview Avenue and found a loaded handgun in the car and $2,200 cash on him. He is awaiting a preliminary hearing in municipal court.
On Aug. 14, 25-year-old Kyree Grabe was arrested on gun charges after he drove his car onto a sidewalk in front of several police officers and was walking into the bar despite being told he was getting a parking ticket.
In his car, police spotted a loaded gun in the back seat and when Grabe was searched, reports said he had $2,800 cash.
Grabe was released from prison on July 16 after he received a judicial release from obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence charges that he picked up stemming from the homicide at the bar.
Police said Grabe took the victim’s phone and lied to police about being there. He is being held in the Mahoning County Jail on a probation violation.
Brown said the two men did not bring guns into the bar. He also said the people firing guns Tuesday were across the street and not on his property at all.
Lees said the bar is eating up a lot of resources for the department, especially during the afternoon and midnight turn. Extra officers are deployed to the area to write citations for parking and other quality of life issues while looking out for other illegal activity.
“It’s costing me overtime to put the additional officers out,” Lees said. “In addition to that, when we have to push resources to deal with that problem. we’re taking away from other areas of the city.”
Lees said part of the problem started when the owners of the bar, which was once one unit in a storefront, took over most of the building.
He said there is not enough parking to deal with large crowds because the original bar was never meant to accommodate more than a typical neighborhood bar.
With the pandemic, large crowds who can’t or won’t go inside are also hanging out on the sidewalks and other parking lots. Lees said some of the owners of those lots have agreed to place ‘no trespassing’ signs on their property, which cuts down on some of the illegal parking.
Brown said other bars on Mahoning Avenue have patrons who park in other lots. He said the city is using selective enforcement when dealing with his parking.
Brown said he is trying to reach out to Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray as well as Lees. He does have security, but Brown said he asked earlier if he could pay for an off duty officer to park in a cruiser in front of the bar but was declined.