Cameo owner: Club closing its doors on Friday

Cameo owner: Club closing its doors on Friday
The front entrance of Cameo nightclub (FOX19 NOW)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cameo nightclub voluntarily surrendered its liquor license one day after a mass shooting inside the Kellogg Avenue club. The owner announced later on Monday that the club will be closing its doors on Friday.

Cincinnati Police's Vice Unit will take the license to Columbus and turn it into state officials, according to city spokesperson Rocky Merz.

"Once the state processes the paperwork this means that there is no more liquor permit and they would have to reapply for a new one, a process that takes months," Merz wrote in an emailed statement.

The owner has said Cameo will remain closed until the police investigation is complete. So far, no arrests have been made in the shootout that injured 16 people and left one man dead.

The police department is working with the club's owner in the investigation.

Ohio Investigative Unit also issued five violations against the nightclub, according to a spokesperson with the Department of Public Safety:

Agents inspected the building Sunday and found the following violations:

  • Drug possession
  • Drug use
  • Unsanitary conditions (bugs in bottles)
  • Unsanitary conditions (fixtures/equipment/tables/coolers-refrigerators/utensils not clean).
  • Permit not posted

FOX19 NOW learned in January 2015 the club was cited for allowing patrons to smoke marijuana inside the building.

When investigators returned to the scene yesterday, they found more drugs.

"There was marijuana found in employee only accessible areas. There was also marijuana in plain view of where the bartenders would be and the staff," Agent Adam Johnson said.

The Ohio Investigative Unit is responsible for enforcing Ohio's alcohol, tobacco and food stamp fraud laws.

Jay Rodgers, owner of Cameo, released the following statement about the club closing its doors:

"We, including myself, are all asking how this could have happened. I believe that I owe it to the patrons and the families of those affected by the shooting of Cameo Night Club to provide them with honest and accurate information as to the safety measures in place at Cameo to prevent acts of violence, such as what occurred Saturday night. There have been untrue reports that certain patrons were allowed to enter the Club without passing through security.  This was not permitted.

There was no side door entrance.  As is customary, two of the four privately paid uniformed Cincinnati Police officers that I hired who were working the off-duty detail were stationed at the door and had a clear view to observe our security procedures.  They also assisted with the flow of the lines.

As of this Friday, March 31, Cameo will be closing its doors.  Earlier this morning, Cameo received a notice to vacate the premises from the landlord and owner of the property.  In a letter, attached, Cameo notified the owner that although it had planned to move out in May due to the landlord's planned sale of the property, it will instead voluntarily surrender possession of the property immediately.  The liquor license was surrendered earlier today in preparation to wind down the business of Cameo."

Cameo will continue to cooperate with the police investigation and assist in any way in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

The agency investigated Cameo after gunfire broke out inside the club around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. 27-year-old O'Bryan Spikes was killed. Two people are in critical condition.

"These violations themselves are not very uncommon to get in a bar," said Agent Adam Johnson. He said agents found marijuana, unsanitary conditions behind the bar and bugs in six bottles of liquor.

The state's investigation was conducted once police finished a criminal investigation at the scene, Johnson said.

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