SF nightclub shut down after officer shot in foot

June 19, 2010 7:14:52 PM PDT
A San Francisco nightclub is facing tough new restrictions after a veteran police officer was shot in the foot early Saturday morning. The officer was trying to separate a large group of women outside the El Rincon Restaurant and Nightclub when someone opened fire.

An 18 and over party had just wrapped up, packing the intersection of 16th and Harrison. Then a fight broke out -- police tried to control it.

"It was a lot of commotion, people yelling; it sounded like a crowd of people yelling loud, then gun shots," witness Anne Olson said.

Police took two people into custody, and Saturday, the city's entertainment commission cracked down on El Rincon, suspending its entertainment license for the next 72 hours. While it can remain open, that means no DJ, no live entertainment and no cover can be charged to get in.

"The emergency suspension is because there was a shooting involved," Jim Meko of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission said.

El Rincon had planned to host another party Saturday night; it was supposed to be for teenagers and alcohol free.

"Since I took over, one year, I don't have any problems," owner Vimla Patel said.

That is not true, according to Alfredo Najera. He works as a nonprofit safety coordinator between the Mission District, police and city leaders.

"They should close it down indefinitely until they investigate what's going on," Najera said. "In the community this has been an ongoing issue and problem."

"This night club has a bad reputation,' Olson said.

The Entertainment Commission has had several neighborhood complaints about El Rincon but has never cited the owner.

This is the second emergency suspension the commission has issued since supervisors gave it the power to do so in the fall. The last one was in April, at Suede Nightclub near Fisherman's Wharf after one person was shot and killed and several others injured.

"I hope the Entertainment Commission in the future will look carefully at clubs with history and address those issues and security issues and safety before another person gets shot," Supervisor David Chiu said.

The owner of El Rincon is supposed to talk to commissioners on Monday. After that, they will decide if the nightclub will reopen Tuesday night or stay closed.

The maximum suspension is 30 days.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Police Department's confidential tip line at (415) 575-4444, or text TIP411 with the key word SFPD in the text field, followed by the message.


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