RALEIGH — A rash of violence at a Rockingham nightclub — including one night when a patron was allegedly choked to death — has led state officials to suspend the establishment’s alcohol permits, according to the NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
P3 Bar & Night Club, located at 416 E. Broad Ave., Rockingham, is characterized as “violent” in a statement released late Friday by the ABC Commission, spelling out the events that led to this action.
It appears a shooting last weekend was the final straw for alcohol law enforcement officials.
“A Rockingham club, which has been the site of a fatal choking and numerous fights requiring response by law enforcement from three counties, in the last week saw a patron wounded by gunfire,” said the ABC Commission’s statement.
The pattern of escalating violence reported by local law enforcement officers at the location prompted the ABC Commission Friday to suspend the ABC permits at P3.
The business has held permits to serve alcohol since June 2011.
The suspension, which prohibits the business from selling alcohol, is in effect immediately, according to Agnes Stevens, Public Affairs Director for the commission.
“Taken together, reports of fights involving dozens of people spilling onto the roadway, incidents of club security staff allegedly choking and punching patrons in an attempt to subdue them, and last week’s gun-related injury at this location are very alarming,” said Zander Guy, Chairman of the NC ABC Commission.
“Sworn statements of law enforcement suggest that public safety seems to be at increasing risk when P3 is open, so the ABC Commission has made the determination that it is appropriate immediately to suspend the alcohol permits held by this business,” Guy said.
No phone listing could be located for the owner of the club, identified in affidavits as Charles Dempsey Pope. Also, a phone number listed for the business on its facebook page was not working on Friday.
In nearly 30 pages of affidavits, police officers detail repeated calls to P3 to handle disturbances, fights, assaults, and other complaints throughout several months in 2012.
In the Order of Suspension from Guy, the No. 1 allegation listed against P3 states: “On or about February 5, 2012, a patron assaulted another patron. As P3 security attempted to restrain the aggressor patron, security placed a chokehold on the patron that ultimately led to the patron’s death.”
Rockingham police said a bouncer at the nightclub was allegedly trying to break up an argument involving 36-year-old David Terrill Malloy of 112 Green Lake Road, Rockingham, and another person at the club.
The bouncer “put Malloy in a hold to subdue him, and it killed him,” police said. An incident report said that the responding officer found Malloy lying on the floor by a pool table with his eyes open and his lips moving. EMS was contacted immediately.
A woman allegedly approached the responding officer and claimed that she was a nurse. She assessed Malloy and stated that he had no pulse, then began to perform CPR on him, police said.
According to reports, EMS arrived shortly afterward and transported Malloy to FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital in Rockingham where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The bouncer was charged with voluntary manslaughter, and police contacted the Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement to investigate the club.
The Order of Suspension references incidents at the club responded to by Rockingham police in June, July, August, September, and October.
On Sept. 2, the order states, the entire shift of Rockingham police officers, State Highway Patrol from three counties, Hamlet Police Department officers and two Richmond County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to P3 for crowd control due to “multiple fights, failing to disperse, disorderly conduct, and communicating threats.” The Order continues, “A P3 guard was punching a person repeatedly in the face and P3 owner Charles Pope was shoving people off the front porch.”
On Oct. 14, Rockingham police responded to P3 regarding a fight call and shots fired call where a person was hit in the hand by errant gunshot pellets, according to the ABC’s order.
In April 2010, the state ABC Commission announced Last Call, a cooperative initiative with local law enforcement and ALE that streamlines the process for suspending alcohol permits of violent bars and clubs. Friday’s action is the 17th summary suspension of permanent ABC permits by the state ABC Commission since October 2009.
The summary suspension of the Rockingham location’s ABC permits is immediate and is in effect until the case is heard by the Office of Administrative Hearings. The action is authorized under N.C. General Statute 150B-3(c), which directs the ABC Commission to begin hearing proceedings on the matter.
North Carolina is one of 17 states to regulate alcohol through a control system. Since 1937, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission has provided regulation and control over the sale, purchase, transportation, manufacture, consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages in the state.
The commission oversees more than 25,000 permits allowing alcohol sales by more than 18,000 retail outlets across the state.
For more information, visit the website at http://abc.nc.gov.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org