HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Family members who killed loved ones in shootings near Houston nightclubs this week asked city leaders what it takes to shut down businesses. Eyewitness News went to city, county and state leaders to find out what the process is for shutting down a club.
The family’s pleas following a triple homicide outside a nightclub in Southwest Houston were clear.
“They will keep dropping bodies,” said Ashley Montalbo, whose husband was killed on Sunday. “For what? A club? It’s not good. They have to close it.”
Sunday morning, the Houston Police Department said three men were shot and killed in a parking lot outside a nightclub on Beechnut Street. The family identified one victim as Gerardo Filomeno.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences released the name of the second victim, Jorge Vazquez, on Tuesday, but the identity of the third victim was not disclosed.
There have been no arrests so far. Twenty-four hours later, another fatal shooting occurred outside another nightclub on South Gessner Road. Both shootings occurred hours after the clubs were supposed to stop serving alcohol. ABC13’s Safety Tracker shows 10 incidents at the South Gessner address since last year at both the nightclub and car park.
There have been nearly 20 incidents at Beechnut at the club and parking lot.
City leaders told Eyewitness News that the HPD is collecting crime data and sharing it with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission to get it to act immediately. The TABC said it was investigating the nightclub near the triple homicide.
He closed the club for a week. The TABC has said it could cancel a liquor license, but it’s a last resort.
ABC13 asked Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg what else could be done.
“Businesses may be shut down,” Ogg said. “The premises can be closed. The building can be closed. There are many remedies available by law.”
Ogg said he’s requesting a lawsuit. Neighbors can band together to shut down a nuisance business. To make it happen, though, he says the neighbors have to talk.
“Don’t just report violence, but report noise, alcohol and driving complaints and even someone urinating outside. All of these things should and can be reported,” Ogg said. “That creates a nuisance record, and that’s the basis for these kinds of lawsuits, which can be very successful.”
This is the action the victim’s family would like to see after officers say their loved ones have been killed.
“It always happens,” Montalbo said. “Why don’t they close the club?”
They hope these pleas will lead to an arrest and keep the nightclub closed.
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