PORT MORRIS — Police and community members are looking to shut down a violent night club where bullets come with the cocktails.
Over the past four months, at least three incidents of gunplay have occurred just outside of Club Miami, a Bronx nightclub located at 26 Bruckner Blvd., and neighbors say they are fed up.
"It’s time for the community to mobilize and to do something about their gross neglect for public safety," said Michael Brady, a South Bronx resident who lives a short walk from the club.
Two people were injured in front of Club Miami on Dec. 7 around 3 a.m., when 24-year-old Vandell Le Woods pointed a gun at a group of about 10 people and fired multiple shots, hitting one person in both legs and another person in the left hand and right leg, according to his criminal complaint. He was charged with attempted murder and assault.
Club Miami dealt with another violent incident on Jan. 10, when 19-year-old Kevin Crosby was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon after pointing his gun at a bouncer who kicked him out for being too rowdy, police said. He had a fake ID on him as well, according to court documents.
And on March 22, 23-year-old Anthony Ruiz was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon after he drunkenly fired two shots in the air right outside of the club where a crowd had formed, police and court documents said.
Lawyers for Woods and Crosby did not respond to requests for comment, and Ruiz's lawyer declined to comment.
Robert Salese, general manager of Club Miami, apologized for the violence but stressed that it was not happening in the club itself. He said that the business has a professional security company and added that people might feel differently about the club if they saw what happened inside rather than outside.
"This is a clean operation with an unfortunate few incidents that have occurred in—not even in; rather around and outside of—the venue," he said. "And again, I do apologize for that, but I can’t wholeheartedly take responsibility for the actions of others that just don’t have the same regard for a good night out that we do."
Community leaders maintained that they were fed up with the club's violence.
"They cannot provide security within their club, and what happens in their club spills out into the general community," said Cedric Loftin, District Manager of Bronx Community Board 1. "And the type of noise frame that they bring to the community is not appropriate."
Loftin added that he did not think the State Liquor Authority should continue the club's license.
"We don’t support their renewal," he said. "They’re not a good actor."
The club's liquor license is not due to expire until March 31, 2017, according to SLA spokesman Bill Crowley. However, on April 1, the establishment has to respond to the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control about issues with excessive noise and building code violations, which could result in a license revocation.
Deputy Inspector Lorenzo Johnson, commanding officer of the 40th Precinct, said that officers were working diligently to get a nuisance abatement in place for Club Miami. The department obtains closing orders under the law as a way to address several crimes, including selling alcohol to minors and having unlicensed security at bars and clubs.
"I’m upset hearing that there has been, almost on a monthly basis, a gun involved incident and that it’s still open," said Mott Haven resident Linda Ortiz, calling the level of violence "insane."
The club did receive an A on its latest inspection from the Health Department, with the only critical sanitary violation being for food that was contaminated or not properly thrown out.
Additionally, despite community concerns about Club Miami's lax security, the business appears to be very strict about its dress code, as the entrance contains signs warning people coming to the club not to wear hoodies, Timberlands, fitted hats, du-rags, white t-shirts, jean shorts, snapbacks, sleeveless shirts, wifebeaters, sportswear, athletic attire or baggy clothes.
"We reserve the right to be selective," one sign reads.