Efforts Underway To Curb Club-Related Violence In Wichita

By: Cayle Thompson Email
By: Cayle Thompson Email

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Police are investigating a number of post-Christmas bar and nightclub shootings.

One shooting happened at Club Jump off South Oliver late Friday night and sent a 16-year-old to the hospital. Police say a fight broke out in the parking lot just before the teenager was shot. They also say the teen was drunk, which was another problem for police.

"If it's determined that he was in the bar and that's where he was consuming alcohol, we'll obviously have some concerns about how he got in there and the violations that occured there," said Lt. Chris Bannister.

Two more shootings happened over the long weekend. One was at Max's Club on East Morris and the other at the Wichita Ballroom on West Kellogg.

Police say it's possible all three shootings were gang-related.

"Anybody who runs a business here in the city is not only
responsible for what happens inside their business, but what goes on in their parking lot," said Capt. Ken Atnip.

Police want to strengthen city ordinances to hold bar and nightclub owners more accountable for what happens on their property.

Suggestions include raising the food-to-alcohol ratio to 50/50 for some places and giving police the ability to audit potential ordinance violators sooner rather than later.

Not everyone agrees the fault lies on the shoulders of business owners. Some say it's th clientele police should be cracking down on.

"It's the patrons that are in the bar that start it. It's
always after the bar has escorted them out after hours and so forth," said Nathan Wright, an employee who works next to Max's Bar & Grill.

Police have scheduled meetings with the area district advisory boards next month. They'll sit down to draft new ordinances based on the feedback they've received from recent surveys sent to several dozen bar and nightclub owners.

They plan to take those proposed ordinance changes to the city council for discussion as early as February.

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