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Augusta nightclub facing possible probation after shooting incident

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 7:13 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Sum Yung Ho nightclub downtown could be on probation after a shooting last month.

Four people were hurt.

Now city leaders say they’re taking steps to keep it from happening again, with Augusta commissioners looking at a possible six-month probation.

The conditions of probation could include a curfew, ID checks and supervision or monitoring from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. This comes just five months after one local restaurant closed its doors due to similar allegations.

“We have to stop being so soft with the establishments,” said Dennis Williams, Augusta commissioner for District 10.

A nightclub shooting left four people injured and now a business under the watch of Richmond County.

On Sept. 17, a fight broke out inside Sum Yung Ho on Broad Street. The club’s bouncer tried to stop the fight and shortly after that, shots broke out. Now the sheriff’s office is questioning how the gun got in and why a 20-year-old victim was drunk.

“It does concern me because I won’t say it shows a lack of judgement on the owners of the club, but it does,” said Commissioner John Clarke, District 10.

Richmond County investigators say the owners of the nightclub told them they hired a bouncer to check IDs and use a metal detector at the door. However, they say club promoters advised the bouncer to let people in without being checked. Investigators told commissioners the owners had the tools to prevent this from happening, but they didn’t. And they warned the owners about allowing in promoters before.

“Twice prior to that, he told me he was going to stop using promoters before this last incident,” said Investigator Jose Ortiz of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

“Despite who did what, it’s the responsibility of the alcohol license holder’s to make sure the club runs properly,” said Williams.

This is the third time in two years the sheriff’s office recommended consequences for a business. Most recently, a raid uncovered underage drinking at Southbound Smokehouse. It led owners to close down before the commission could vote.

The lawyer for the club owners say probation is a consequence they’ll accept.

“This club is named after his wife’s mother so it has a special place in her heart. They want to make sure it thrives and it is successful, the last thing they want is for anyone to be injured or minors to be served,” said Jeffery Peele, attorney for the owner of Sum Yung Ho.

The probation would not go into effect until the full commission votes to pass it next week.

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