Long before the weekend’s shoot, Akron’s Sky Lounge was a “problematic location”
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Two people were gunned down at an Akron bar over the weekend. And an investigation shows that the establishment wreaked havoc in the neighborhood almost as soon as it opened.
Efforts to close the Sky Lounge on East South Street began several weeks before two people were shot dead at the bar last weekend.
The establishment faces six quotes from state investigators, many of which stem from serving alcohol after hours:
- On May 22, the bar was cited for not having a catering license
- On April 25, Akron Police said people were drinking alcohol after hours, alcohol was delivered after hours, and there had been improper conduct, including disorderly conduct and drug use.
- On June 27 and July 3, Akron police said the bar hindered or impeded an inspection
- A day later, on July 4, police said the bar again hampered an inspection and people were drinking again and delivering beer after working hours.
New data from Akron Police shows officers have responded to the Sky Lounge at least 34 times since May.
In the past 14 weeks, police have received eight calls about gunfire and countless calls about parking issues and reckless driving. They also received three calls about urinating in public on the street or in neighbors’ yards.
“They don’t care,” said Kathy Wilkins, who lives a few doors down from the bar. “They don’t care where they park, they don’t care where they go to the bathroom.”
“It was like a traveling show, like a circus,” she said.
19 Investigations found that Akron City Council had started talking about the issues at the Sky Lounge in June.
“They hijacked this neighborhood,” City Councilor Tara Samples said at a June 28 meeting.
And, just days before two people were shot this weekend, city council passed a resolution declaring a safety emergency and opposing the renewal of the company’s liquor license.
“I hope we can get some traction here by dealing with a very difficult property,” said a city councilor.
But, the problems persisted even after that.
“It’s only a matter of time before a neighbor around here gets shot,” a neighbor told 19 Investigates on Monday.
“When bars close at 2:30 pm everywhere else, that’s where they come in,” he said.
The call log shows that most requests for help arrive around three or four in the morning. Police often refer to the place as an “after-hours open meal”, saying “it’s a problematic place every weekend.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after our 19 News bar survey aired, a resident sent us a photo of a locksmith parked outside the Sky Lounge.
Someone, perhaps the owner of the building, was apparently having the locks changed.
This may prevent the bar from functioning after opening hours. The neighbors hope so.
“I need to get some sleep,” Wilkins said. “The others need to sleep. “
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