NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The owner of Legacy Lounge speaks to 10 On Your Side for the first time about the Norfolk City Council’s decision.
A few weeks ago, the City of Norfolk voted to shut down a nightclub over violence concerns after a quadruple shooting outside the club.
“City council doesn’t speak for all the patrons that still want to come out here and enjoy the nightlife. City council doesn’t speak for the two dozen jobs they took away from people,” said Alexander Stokes, co-owner of Legacy Lounge.
Stokes said he was hurt after putting so much work into the nightclub.
He and his business partner are veterans who wanted to create a similar club experience to what they experienced overseas. The owners also wanted to give back to the community.
“We put our blood, sweat and tears into this business. For it to be snatched away in a blink of an eye, it is painful,” he said.
Stokes told 10 On Your Side the incident started from a spilled drink.
“A patron walked past and tripped over a spilled drink. When he tripped, he proceeded to his section. After he proceeded to his section, I believe Tyshawn or a friend of his started to get into an argument with another patron and then that’s when Tyshawn started to get into an argument,” he said.
Stokes said there was some pushing and a patron threw a punch at the shooting suspect, Tyshawn Gray.
“They got into a little scuffle and fell to the ground. As they fell to the ground, a manager walked up and started pushing everybody back,” Stokes said.
The manager intervened and broke up the fight.
“He walked Tyshawn back here and tripped over the step. When he tripped, he proceeded to grab Tyshawn by his collar and drag him back about here, which is about five feet. Once he got here, Tyshawn Gray got up, proceeded to walk out of the door and proceeded to his car,” Stokes said.
Tim Anderson, the Legacy Lounge’s attorney, said Gray then walked about 60 feet to his car and grabbed a gun.
“It was about 25 to 30 seconds. This guy had plenty of time to think about what he was going to do,” he said.
Anderson said the club did everything right.
“There is nothing any restaurant could have done to stop that from happening. There is no amount of security or police that could have stopped that from happening,” he said. “This business did everything right and shutting them down is outrageous.”
The city’s attorney’s staff said the nightclub violated its permit when they didn’t have marked security. Stokes said they had four security guards with clearly marked polos.
He said the security staff normally wears a white collared shirt with security in black or black collared shirts with security in white.
Asst. Norfolk City Attorney Katherine Taylor told the council they had security workers helping the crowd.
“Warren Salvodon [owner of Legacy Lounge] told news media he had security there inside and outside that night. Indeed, the City of Norfolk has information from Norfolk Police that their [Legacy] security workers did clear the crowd,” she said.
Legacy Lounge sent a video to 10 On Your Side. The owners said it was from the same day as the shooting. In the video, the owners say a person with a shirt labeled “security” walks into the frame.
Legacy Lounge is preparing to present these facts in court.”
“Our next step is a court hearing next week, so hopefully, we get some good news coming out from that and be able to open again and serve our great food,” Stokes said.
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