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City Leaders Seeking New Measures To Curb Violence At Downtown Club

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis police and city leaders are trying to figure out what to do next to prevent the violence that has plagued a downtown nightclub for years.

Early Sunday morning, a man died after being shot inside Epic Nightclub on North 5th Street in the Warehouse District. Police say the victim was shot and killed after arguing with another man, who then fled.

Officers were already on patrol nearby and found the victim on the sidewalk, where he was pronounced dead.

More than 1,000 people were at a rap concert when the shooting happened, and they rushed out onto the streets afterward.

Despite the many witnesses to the shooting, police say they are having a hard time getting people to talk, suspecting that people are scared.

And despite more police patrols in the Warehouse District, metal detectors and tightened security measures, the shooter was still able to get a gun inside Epic, shoot someone, and get away.

People are suggesting the best solution might be for Epic to close.

"It is absolutely unacceptable. They should be ashamed of themselves," said Don Samuels, of the Minneapolis City Council.

He says it's time for the city to start looking at taking away the club's license.

"The club owners agreed to certain heightened security measures after the last go round, so we are going to be looking into that," Samuels said.

The chaos that erupted Sunday is nothing new. Last year police were called to Epic 94 times, 65 times so far this year for things like assaults, stabbings and robberies.

"It's pretty scary. Now you can't feel safe even if you are in groups," said Lillian Rivera of Minneapolis.

Bundles of flowers were taped Monday to a nearby street, with a handwritten note to the man who died.

City leaders say they don't want people to be afraid to come to downtown Minneapolis at night. Police patrols were increased in the warehouse district last year and the city council added restrictions to the licenses of nightclubs.

"It's not going to be allowed to continue. One way or another, this cannot happen again," Samuels said. "And we are going to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again."

In the last couple of years, several clubs have closed in the warehouse district, places like Envy, Karma and Bootleggers.

Someone returning phone calls for the night club said it is planning on releasing a statement about all of this either Monday night or Tuesday.

On Sunday, the club did post a note on its Facebook page offering condolences to the family of the man who was killed. And club management released a statement Monday evening. Here is an excerpt:

The management and staff of Epic are shocked and saddened by the events of the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 3. We express sympathy and extend condolences to the family of the shooting victim. We are cooperating with all phases of the Minneapolis Police Department's continuing investigation of the incident.

Epic is an event center that serves non-profits, business, concert promoters and private parties. Over six years, more than 1.5 million patrons have passed safely through our doors. Epic is serious about its commitment to providing as secure an environment as possible.

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