As a community comes to grips with a gunfight that left two men dead and a third injured outside a nightclub that the city has been fighting to revoke its liquor license, Huber Heights police today continue their search for suspects and clues behind the killings.
Police, city officials and the operators of Heat Nightclub today are expected to provide more details about the crimes that left Charles W. Bell III and Keenan Hall dead, and a growing chorus of demands to prevent the club from ever reopening. The City Council has a regularly scheduled meeting tonight where officials said the shooting deaths and the club’s persistent problems will be discussed.
Bell, 25, and Hall, 20, both of Dayton, and a third person were shot after a fight inside the club, located at 6115 Brandt Pike, and moved to the parking lot before 3 a.m. Saturday, police said. Bell was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The third shooting victim, whom police did not identify, was treated and released from Miami Valley Hospital.
Hall was listed in critical condition at the hospital, but died at 1:45 a.m. Sunday, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office.
Neither the police nor the club’s manager, Jessica Kennedy, were available for comment Sunday. She previously has complained that Huber Heights police and city officials have unfairly scrutinized the club. Just hours after the fatal gunfight, Heat Nightclub shut down two of its Facebook accounts when critical postings appeared. Before deactivating the accounts, it noted that the shootings did not occur on teen night, which is usually held on Saturdays.
Bell’s mother, Felicia Bell, who was hosting a Mother’s Day dinner at her home Sunday evening, told WHIO-TV she was not ready to talk about her son’s death. Hall’s relatives could not be reached for comment.
Residents who live near the club expressed their frustrations about the ongoing problems and police activity. None of them wanted to their names used because they fear retaliation for speaking out against the club.
But opponents of the club have been vocal on a Facebook account, called “Shut Down The Heat Night Club In Huber Heights Ohio,” and have started an online petition at Change.org “demanding” the Ohio Liquor Control Division to close the club.
The city has spent the past year fighting without success to prevent Heat Nightclub’s liquor license from being renewed. In April, a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge upheld an decision by the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to renew the Heat Nightclub’s liquor license.
On May 2, the city declined to appeal the judge’s decision with the Division of Liquor Control, citing it would probably lose in court and needed to focus on “managing the nuisance” the club continues to create.
Police have responded to 217 calls for service, including noise complaints, illegal drugs and assaults, related to the club within a 373 day period starting April 1, 2012. The club opened its doors in November 2010.
The city spent more than $11,000 during the past year fighting Heat Nightclub’s liquor license.
The club’s landlord, CR Dayton with offices in Dover, Del., and South Barrington, Ill., did not return calls for comment.
Sharahn D. Boykin - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
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