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Fenway Bar, Site Of Fatal Shooting, Wants To Reopen As Family Restaurant

BOSTON (CBS) -- The owner of Who's On First, a Fenway bar that was closed last year after a fatal shooting, went before the Boston Licensing Board Wednesday petitioning to re-open.

"No longer a nightclub or nightlife venue, but a family-style restaurant," the owner's attorney Jack Diamond testified before the board.

As a club, Who's on First had troubled the Fenway neighborhood with a history of violent incidents. It all came to a head last Thanksgiving when 29-year-old Jephthe Chery was shot and killed outside the club, three others were injured.

The bid to re-open as a family-friendly establishment named The Bullpen leaves the victim's mother skeptical. "For me it is going to be the same thing," said Rose Chery. "I already lost my son there. That place is not supposed to exist anymore."

Chery still wears the pin honoring the memory of her son who was an MBTA train conductor, caught in crossfire meant for someone else. While the Licensing Board didn't put the blame on the club's owners, an agreement was reached to shut it down.

Now Mayor Marty Walsh says he's keeping an open mind on this petition. "More of a family concept is better," Walsh said. "I think the owners understand the importance of an establishment that fits in with the neighborhood."

The bar had generated dozens of violations over the years resulting in warnings and suspensions. Now the community wants to be certain the name and concept change, is really change.

Leah Camhi of the Fenway Neighborhood Development Corporation says the ownership is still the same which creates concern. "He will be watched closely to make sure the new venue has the look and feel appropriate for the community," said Camhi.

Rose Chery says she was surprised by the petition, and the Licensing Board is expected to make a decision as early as Thursday. "For me it's supposed to close, close, close and never reopen."

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports

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