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Houma, La. - On a Saturday night in December, surveillance cameras captured a large crowd leaving City Club in downtown Houma.
Just one week later, five people, including a Houma police officer, were shot outside the club. Investigators say the shooting stemmed from an incident that began inside.
Police Chief Todd Duplantis says the shooting was the latest in a number of problems at the bar on Main Street. He says there have also been complaints of noise, litter and traffic.
"Every Saturday, the officers are responding out there due to the large crowds that are coming out into the street," says Duplantis. "We respond out there to try to avoid one of the patrons coming out and being struck by a car."
Duplantis called in Troy Hebert, the state commissioner for alcohol and tobacco control, and they had a hearing with bar owner Mike Fesi, Jr. last week.
"State law says anytime an alcohol establishment that's permitted by our office becomes a threat to public health and safety, we have the ability to go in and investigate," says Hebert. "As commissioner, I can either fine, suspend or revoke their license if it causes a threat to public health and safety."
Fesi's attorney said in the hearing Friday that City Club isn't the only bar in downtown Houma and not the only one contributing to the trash and crowds. But Chief Duplantis says City Club had nearly three times the complaints of the other downtown bars last year and it was only open two days a week.
The ATC commissioner gave City Club 10 days to show improvement with security, noise and crowd control.
Chief Duplantis has another meeting scheduled with City Club's owner in the next two weeks.
"We don't want to shut him down at all, that's not what the intent is," says Duplantis. "Like I told him, one word, communicate. I think communication between law enforcement and clubs, it will go a long way."
Calls to Fesi and his attorney were not returned Monday.
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