Fairfield comedy club closes after shooting

November 24, 2010 5:31:04 PM PST
Pepperbelly's Variety Theater & Lounge in Fairfield has closed in the wake of a shooting early Sunday that critically injured a 29-year-old Vallejo man, police said today.

A recorded message on the comedy club's answering machine said the club has closed until further notice because of the shooting.

Police Lt. Greg Hurlbut said the owner of the property, located at 849 Texas St., served the club an eviction notice two weeks ago and intends to reopen the club on New Year's Eve under the name "The Original Pepperbelly's."

"I think he's working on licensing with the city and state," Hurlbut said in an e-mail.

This morning, the shooting victim remained in critical condition at John Muir Medical Center and is unable to speak, Hurlbut said.

The shooting, which occurred at about 12:15 a.m. might have stemmed from an argument or physical fight over a woman, Cpl. Cleo Mayoral said.

After the victim was shot in the abdomen, several small fights broke out among the patrons.

Fairfield police called the Solano County Sheriff's Office and Vacaville police to help control the raucous crowd and prevent damage to downtown storefronts.

Some club patrons were treated for exposure to pepper spray, which was used to disperse the crowd.

Five people were arrested for public intoxication, fighting in public and resisting arrest, police said.

This was not the first time violence has been linked to the comedy club.

On May 25, a man said four men approached him and punched him inside Pepperbelly's then followed him outside to the parking lot of a nearby Wells Fargo bank and shot at him. He ran away and was not injured.

Police are still determining a motive for the shooting and haven't identified a suspect. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police at (707) 428-7300.


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