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Suspect arrested after man shot, killed at Portsmouth bar

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Police say a suspect is in custody in connection to a fatal shooting at a Portsmouth bar.

Portsmouth police said officers arrested 20-year-old Nicholas Kyle Moffitt and charged him with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Nicholas Kyle Moffitt

The March 5 shooting at the Cock Island Bar and Grille led to the death of 34-year-old Jermaine Marcus Iriarte, police said.

Iriarte family said they plan on holding a candlelight vigil Friday in his honor.

Police said they were called to the bar just after one in the morning, and found Iriarte suffering from gunshot wounds. He died on scene. 

Iriarte’s wife spoke with 10 On Your Side on Wednesday. She said she was bartending the the night he was shot and killed. Right now, she is mourning.

Next door at Barfield Embroidery, Britny Barfield says this is not the first time she has seen this happen.

“It’s very dangerous at night fighting, and this is probably 10:30, 11 o’clock when things really start, the club life,” said Barfield.

“Last time there was a shooting, we were actually here and we ran for our lives. This time, fortunately, we weren’t. It’s very unfortunate, the man that passed away,” she added.

Portsmouth police said they’ve been called to the bar 19 times in the past year. 

Barfield said that is not something she and others on the block are comfortable with. 10 On Your Side asked her if she feels safe.

“No, as a business owner no, and I live in Portsmouth. I love living here, I’ve lived here all my life, and as a business owner, no,” she said.

On Wednesday, the bar is open. Barfield believes that is a mistake. 

10 On Your Side spoke with managers off camera, who said they are open in hopes of moving on from the situation. 

WAVY’s Jason Marks reports the Virginia ABC has decided not to suspend the bar’s liquor license.

Managers say they haven’t heard any word on that yet.

Lawyers representing the bar sent a letter to the Virginia ABC Authority, that stated:

Dear Gentlemen,

Please be advised that I represent Dave Clarke (Owner) in his corporation cock Island bar and Grill, Inc. Is send this correspondence as the press is crucifying my client and relating other shootings and criminal activity to my client. The press is even suggesting that the ABC wants to pull Cock Island’s liquor license. Makes one wonder who has sent the spin doctors in motion and what leaks have occurred and exactly what has been said to the press. 

Against this back drop I ask the ABC pause and really look at the incidents involved here. Ask yourselves what could Cock Island and its management could have really prevented. 

Respectfully might i suggest before you take a citizen’s property right and remove Cock Island’s ABC license that ABC not pursue this case as an immediate public safety issue.

Briefly, none of the incidents reported occurred inside the establishment. Management of cock island could not of prevented any of these incidents. Not all of the incidents even involve Cock Island other than location and proximity. We would all be well served to understand that restaurants  in Virginia are not the social police of the community. That, as a standard, is far too high. 

Furthermore, none of the reported incidents involve the over sale or excessive serving of alcohol. For instance, this incident was over a $13.00 bar tab. None of these incidents involve a weapon that was brought inside of Cock Island. 

I would strenuously argue that there should not be any charges brought against my client. However, should ABC disagree then I would suggest that how the ABC handled the Spade’s matter would be a better model. Certainly such a model is less fraught with constitutional issues. 

As always my client and I look forward to working with ABC to resolve any issues. 

thank you for your consideration,

Very truly yours, 

Louis Napoleon (Mike) Joynes, II

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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