Is rap music giving a downtown club a bad rap?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Is rap music giving a downtown nightclub a bad rap?
Ft. Myers Police Chief Doug Baker is calling out a downtown nightclub - for drawing what he characterizes as a historically problem crowd.
"Do we want that kind of business in Ft. Myers and does Ft. Myers want to be known for that?" Baker asked, of Pulse Nightclub and Lounge on Hendry Street.
Baker made those comments Thursday following an early morning fight outside Pulse ended with someone shooting into a crowd. Luckily no one was hurt but Baker said it was a near miss - saying it was close to the spot where Officer Andrew Widman lost his life in a shooting a couple years back.
But that's not all he had to say.
"1527 Hendry Street has been a problem for a great many years," Baker said Thursday afternoon, while briefing reporters on the shooting that had happened earlier that morning.
It's the current home of Pulse Nightclub and Lounge.
Pictures on the clubs Facebook page show people partying under multi-colored lights and hanging in the DJ booth. A dancer in a cage mugs for the camera in another shot.
Baker says this particular downtown club, and others before it in the same spot, is known for having problem patrons.
"The bar owners have some responsibility here and the businesses to be a good neighbor and a good business," Baker said. "A number of people have owned a bar there and they have run certain events that are related to violence."
Police reports show they were called to the club for a large street fight just before 2:00 a.m. Thursday. The crowd eventually moved down the block to a parking lot where the drive-by shooting happened.
Whomever was inside the car got away after leading police on a chase.
"Nobody wants the violence downtown," Baker said. "Nobody wants to see crime downtown."
Pulse was hosting a hip-hop night before the street scuffle.
"I'll be honest with you - I don't care for those types of events," Baker said. "I don't care for the music that has a violent sentiment to it. It's violent against women, it's violent against police officers, it's violent against each other. We've all heard it - there's nothing positive that can come out of something like that."
We reached out to the general manager of the club by phone.
He declined an on-camera interview, but said what happened outside the club will never happen again. He says he fired the promoter behind the hip-hop night. He also said he agrees with the chief that the hip-hop nights have to go and said he'll be focusing on more house and techno music instead.
Police are still looking for the shooter. One man in the crowd was arrested for disturbing the peace.
Colleen Hogan, reporter