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CINCINNATI SHOOTING Club operator denies security bypass allowed

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Associated Press

CINCINNATI

A Cincinnati nightclub operator denies that some patrons were allowed to bypass security checks that included metal-detection wands before a gunbattle erupted, killing one man and injuring 16 other people.

Julian “Jay” Rodgers rejected claims that people could pay to avoid the long line to get into the club without being checked. Police estimate 200 people were inside early Sunday when a dispute escalated into a gunfight in which more than 20 shots were fired by an unknown number of shooters in the popular club near the Ohio River east of downtown Cincinnati.

“There have been untrue reports that certain patrons were allowed to enter the club without passing through security,” Rodgers, a veteran operator of Cincinnati-area entertainment venues, said late Monday. “This was not permitted.”

Rodgers said two of four privately paid uniformed Cincinnati police officers there had a clear view of security procedures and helped “with the flow of the lines.”

Police Chief Eliot Isaac has emphasized that the officers working off-duty security details remained outside before the shooting and that the club was responsible for its inside security. Isaac said he was aware of reports of a security bypass line, but police hadn’t confirmed that.

No club security footage of the shooting has emerged. Police declined to comment on whether they had identified any possible suspects, but Isaac said they were making progress. No arrests have yet been made.

One of the wounded patrons, Angel Higgins, told WCPO-TV she thought it was likely people were getting in without security checks. She said security just looked at her ID and let her in.

The Hamilton County coroner’s office said Tuesday that O’Bryan Spikes, the 27-year-old man killed in the shooting, died from a single gunshot to the chest.

WXIX-TV reported Isaac, the city manager and others attended a vigil Tuesday evening outside the nightclub for Spikes and the other shooting victims. Isaac spoke to the crowd, calling the shooting a “senseless act.”

Rodgers said Cameo had planned to move out in May because of the landlord’s planned sale of the property but will instead close its door for good Friday. He earlier voluntarily surrendered its liquor license.