COLUMBUS, Ohio — The City of Columbus has shut down a nightclub in the South Franklinton area that city leaders say was the scene of criminal activity in recent months.
Court documents say that “The Underground,” located at 754 Harmon Ave., did not hold a liquor permit and was on Columbus police’s radar for some time due to complaints of loud music, shots fired and traffic and parking issues.
“This illegal nightclub recklessly endangered the lives of patrons and the public. That’s why the City moved swiftly to take action and shut it down. We will never hesitate to take appropriate legal action to protect public safety,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein.
The shutdown comes after a series of incidents that occurred at the nightclub last month.
Klein says a victim called police to report a vehicle break-in and claimed a handgun was stolen from her vehicle. Later that month, officers checking vehicles in the parking lot found several vehicles with guns in plain view, including one with three visible firearms.
On Feb. 26, police were called after hearing reports of several gunshots at the club. Arriving officers found more than 200 vehicles and hundreds of people at the premises.
The Columbus Division of Fire was then called to the property and found overcrowding and a wall that had collapsed. Klein says there were additional fire code violations and the fire department determined that the building was unsafe.
Shortly after patrons were ordered to leave, a large fight started inside the building and security officers began spraying the crowd with pepper spray, causing panic.
Later that night, officers heard additional gunshots in the area and witnessed a suspect throwing a gun under a vehicle after the shots were heard. Officers attempted to engage with the suspect, which led to a high-speed vehicle pursuit. The suspect then crashed the vehicle, causing him to suffer from critical injuries.
On March 5, police dispersed another crowd in the area and later called to the scene of a double homicide just blocks from the property involving patrons of the nightclub.