NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot wants to take drastic actionwith the nightclubs at Waterside Festival Marketplace. He iscalling for change following a deadly shooting inside the Watersidegarage early Sunday morning.
25-year-old Juan Carlos Ovalle-Peralea was shot and killed andhis roommate was wounded.
Police have charged 24-year-old Reginald E. Royals with murder,malicious wounding, and two gun charges.
The violence started with a fender bender, as the bars wereletting out for the night.
That is why Burfoot is calling for all the Waterside bars to beclosed for good if problems involving drunken fights, assaults,shootings and ABC violation continue.
It is also why Norfolk Councilman Randy Wright is now saying hewants to put surveillance cameras in the lower level of thegarage.
Burfoot told WAVY.com, "If we can't get the cooperation fromthese bars, that we think is important for the public safety andwelfare of our citizens, we need to let these people out of theirleases and let them go elsewhere."
Burfoot said he wants to bring the bar owners and managers downto City Hall and tell them they need to improve things or they willbe shut down.
Short term, he says the plan is to hold bar owners accountable.Long term, Burfoot wants to develop the Waterside FestivalMarketplace into a more family-friendly atmosphere.
He said he would like to see Waterside be more of a "restaurantrow."
"It's time to go in another direction," said Burfoot. "We've been talking about it too long. One thing we can'tafford is to have, week in and week out, to continue to have thingshappen and some are turning a blind eye to these things."
Burfoot told WAVY.com, "I have shared with my colleagues theproblems I see festering over there at Waterside. And, youcan put all the police you want down there and it's not going toforce people to act right in an inebriated state."
"I would rather see the place go dark before I'd see somethingelse happen," said Burfoot. "Tensions are very high overthere on the weekends. I would hate to see someone else gethurt and at the end of the day we had an opportunity to react andwe didn't. Life is worth more than a dollar."
WAVY.com did some digging and discovered police officers havebeen called to Waterside and the Waterside garage nearly 340 timesin the last 12 months.
"That's unacceptable," said Burfoot. "When businesses lookto relocate the first thing they want to know is the policereports, because they are investing millions."
The vice mayor said he wants the bars to cooperate and work toend the problems and get on the same page as the city with itsvision for what Waterside should become.
"Either you are our partner in this, or you are out," saidBurfoot.
WAVY.com went to Waterside to get reaction from the owners andmanagers of Bar Norfolk and Have a Nice Day Cafe. They wouldnot comment on camera. One manager did quickly say though, hedid not like the vice mayor's plan.
Neither does Norfolk Councilwoman Daun Hester. She toldWAVY.com, "I don't think we need to close down the bars. Ithink we need to find a way to help them continue in business."
WAVY.com is continuing to work on this developing story and willhave more later tonight on the web and also on WAVY News 10 at 11p.m.
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