Bar where deadly shooting took place was going to close next week

By Corey McConnell - bio | email

OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) -- Cincinnati police say Martin's Bar, the scene of a deadly triple shooting on Wednesday morning, has been a hotspot for crime for years, which is why the neighborhood's been pushing to get the bar's liquor license revoked.

They neighbors succeeded, it just wasn't soon enough.

"The community's saying shut it down, let's shut it down," said Cincinnati councilman Cecil Thomas.

And that's exactly what was scheduled to happen to Martin's Bar. The owner agreed to close as of Sept. 1 after city council recommended to the state that Martin's not have it's liquor license renewed.

"This is a cancer for this neighborhood," said Thomas. "It draws an undesirable element. It's a magnet for the undesirable element."

Thomas echoes the sentiments of neighbors standing where a man was shot to death only hours before.

In 2007, Cincinnati Police got more than 150 calls for service to Martin's Bar. Four people were shot inside, and they say drug trafficking is a problem.

Unfortunately, closing Sept. 1 wasn't soon enough.

"It's happened pretty consistently over the years," said Over the Rhine business owner and resident Steve Hampton.

Hampton led the charge to have Martin's shut down. The bar is right outside the front door of his office and his home.

"It's a good thing that the bar is closing but sad that it happened too late," said Hampton.

Martin's was one of 13 local bars city council recommended lose it's liquor license back in April based on the amount criminal activity in and around the bar.

"It's a magnet for all kinds of other problems start to see prostitution drug sales and all these other things," said Thomas.

Neighbors, police, and council have won the fight to get Martin's to close it's doors for good, but the fight for the residents of Over the Rhine will continue.