RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The state suspended the alcohol license for a Raleigh bar because of a string of illegal — and often violent — incidents associated with the business, according to a notice issued Friday.
According to an outline from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, Raleigh police spoke with the property owner of the Starbar, located at 1731 Trawick Rd., in July 2019 regarding “ongoing issues of violence and illegal activity.”
The bar has averaged more than 100 calls for service per year since the ABC permits had been held at the location. A CBS 17 investigation on July 31, 2019, revealed that police responded to the location more than 150 times in the previous year.
According to the ABC Commission, the calls have been for, in order of decreasing frequency: drugs, assaults, disturbances, shots fired, gunshot victims, stabbings, and fights.
A fight broke out at Starbar in the early morning on July 26, leading to at least one person being stabbed. Staff acknowledged to police that a person was injured by a broken bottle inside the business, the ABC Commission report said.
Upon entering the bar, officers “observed a wet floor with employees actively mopping, potentially destroying blood evidence,” the report said.
An ALE special agent returned to Starbar the following day to execute a search warrant. The agent spoke to the permit holder, who claimed to not have been present at the time of the stabbing, despite being shown on bodycam footage speaking with a Raleigh police officer, the report said.
Based on those events, the ABC Commission issued a violation notice stating that the bar would be “no longer suitable” to hold permits. The notice was delivered on or around Oct. 14, the report said.
Early in the morning on Oct. 25, one person was killed in a quadruple shooting at the Starbar. The ABC Commission report said Raleigh police needed the resources of at least 79 officers over two shifts — including two watch commanders and two K-9s — to process all the evidence.
Two people have been arrested. The report said they were both employed by Starbar as security personnel.
The Speedway gas station nearby said its buildings were shot several times during the incident, the report said.
Nearby businesses, including a hair salon and a grocery store, said they have had to adjust their business hours to avoid being when Starbar is “due to safety concerns for their employees and customers.”
The report asserted that law enforcement are at a substantial risk when responding to calls without adequate backup. It also said the Starbar is a “drain on RPD resources.” Finally, the report said the “illegal, violent and disruptive activities do not occur when the business is not open.”
“When businesses that sell alcoholic beverages routinely become scenes of violence, our special agents conduct investigations to determine if the business is suitable to operate as an ABC permitted outlet,” said Bryan House, Director of ALE. “These types of investigations are a priority to ALE, as well as the safety of patrons who visit ABC permitted outlets.”
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