Epic facing scrutiny after weekend shooting

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November 5, 2013 // UPDATED 3:37 pm - November 8, 2013
By: Sarah McKenzie & Ben Johnson
A makeshift memorial for Tyrone Washington, who was shot to death outside of the Epic nightclub early Sunday morning.
Photo by Ben Johnson
Sarah McKenzie & Ben Johnson

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT — City licensing officials are working with the Minneapolis Police Department to determine whether any action is warranted against Epic nightclub in the wake of the fatal shooting early Sunday morning.

Tyrone Washington, 27, of Crystal was shot to death outside the nightclub around 1 a.m. following a concert featuring rapper Yo Gotti, according to Minneapolis Police. 

Matt Laible, a spokesman for the City of Minneapolis, said it’s too early to say specifically what the city’s next steps are given the ongoing police investigation underway.

“There are a number of steps the city can take in scenarios like this, including negotiating or imposing conditions on a club’s liquor license, or taking steps to revoke its liquor license,” he said. “The steps that will be taken in this case will depend on the outcome of the investigation, but it’s too soon to say what those might be.”

Epic management has already agreed to some conditions imposed on its license, including a provision requiring the club to notify the police department within 24 hours of booking an 18-plus or all-ages concert.

The club at 110 N. 5th St. issued a statement about the shooting yesterday, which included details on its security measures. Here’s an excerpt:

“The management and staff of Epic are shocked and saddened by the events of the early morning hours of Sunday, November 3.  We express sympathy and extend condolences to the family of the shooting victim. …. 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. We implement the most extensive security measures in the Warehouse District. We have invested in metal detectors and security cameras.  All patrons entering Epic are subject to search and security screening.”

The management team said Epic had 40 security staff members and six off-duty Minneapolis police officers at the club the night of the shooting.

Joanne Kaufmann, executive director of the Warehouse District Business Association, has called on city officials to close Epic.

“They have been an ongoing issue for several years, if you look at the number of police calls they’ve had all sorts of issues in there,” she said. “It’s been an ongoing problem, it’s affected the entire neighborhood. We have businesses that don’t open Sunday nights because of what goes on there.”

Warehouse District clubs Envy and Bootleggers faced enforcement action by the city in August of 2012 for crime problems, but the clubs withdrew their business licenses before further action was taken, Laible said. Both clubs have since closed.