Club Ritz nightclub is under pressure to close for good - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Club Ritz nightclub is under pressure to close for good

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Some members of Cincinnati City Council call Club Ritz a magnet for trouble. And after a homicide inside the club early Sunday, they are calling for it to be shut-down.

This is just the latest violence at the nightclub. Three people were shot outside its doors in February.

The owner said he has plans to make it a safer place.

Investigators hope someone with more information in the Club Ritz homicide will speak up.

"We do need some further witnesses to come forward to validate some of the stuff we have learned," said two of the lead detectives on the case. "But we are further along here than we are in some of our other homicide investigations."

Club Ritz owner Andrew Williams and his attorney, Carl Lewis, spoke to Council, re-assuring them Club Ritz is safe.

"One may look at that and say well, you just had a homicide," said Lewis. "And again, our condolences go out to the family, it's heart-wrenching at this point."

A man was shot and killed inside Club Ritz early Sunday morning.

"Was it for lack of security? No," Lewis said.

Williams worked with Cincinnati Police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's department to develop a safety plan.

"Was that safety plan actually implemented?" Council Member Cecil Thomas asked.

When Lewis replied yes, Thomas replied, "Well, that obviously begs the next question, how did an individual get into the establishment with a firearm?"

The owner Williams said this could have happened anywhere.

"I think it's a very small handgun was brought in, in a very unique manner," Williams said. "And again, I don't want to do anything to impede that investigation. The safety plan was based on the outside. so now we're looking at things, a suggestion of a walk through metal detector, we have looked into that."

Plus Williams said they plan to make the club members only, so anyone who comes in will have a photo record in their system.

"there will be an additional security guard detail inside the club and as this always has been and will be, continue to be a zero-tolerance for any and all troublemakers," Lewis said.

Despite these assurances, Council is looking at options to shut the clubs doors for good.

"It's not a safe place," Council Member Leslie Ghiz said. "It's not a place a nighttime I would go, it's not some place in the daytime I would go, and if that's the case, you shouldn't be open." 

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