Monday, December 19, 2005
Unger is urging county commissioners to take action.
There's been a recent rash of shootings, some of them fatal, on or near
nightclub property in Manatee and Sarasota counties, and Manatee
commissioners are considering new rules that could ban those under 21 from
clubs and bars.
"Theres no reason in the world why any minor should be in a nightclub at
night," said nightclub consultant Rich Unger.
Unger is trying to persuade Manatee and Sarasota county commissioners to
create a law banning those under 21 from nightclubs.
"It's a responsibility of Manatee County to protect its youth and to make
damn sure that no other 19-year-old is shot on the dance floor, that
nobody else is beaten up," said Unger.
Unger says minors and nightclubs is a dangerous combination.
"These kids are going in these clubs with one mission and one objective,
and that's to get a drink," said Unger. "And if they don't get it in front
of the club, they'll get it in the restroom of the club."
Ray Weekes, the owner of Club Escapes in Sarasota, says he hasn't had any
incidents since he started banning females under 21 once a week, but he
understands those who don't want to put in place such bans.
"Everybody wants to make money," said Weekes. "Numbers bring in money,
whether they're 18 or 19."
Unger says in this case, money shouldn't be the issue.
"When a 19-year-old kid is shot on the dance floor of a nightclub in
Manatee County, the commission itself should demand," said Unger.
Several violent incidents have happened at or near Club Heat near
"They should of thought this up, not me. I shouldn't of had to contact
Manatee County commissioners are researching the issue and will decide
whether they should draft an ordinance that would ban minors from
nightclubs at Tuesday's commission meeting. Commissioner Joe McClash says
not to expect quick action because if the commission decides to draft an
ordinance, public hearings will need to be held, and then a vote would
determine if the law is passed.
The most recent incidents of violence involving local nightclubs include:
Two people were hurt Dec. 10 when shots were fired inside and outside Club
Heat on 14th Street West near Bradenton. Also, shots were fired in a
parking lot next door on Dec. 11. No one was hurt in that incident.
- Three 18-year-olds were among six people injured in an Oct. 1 fight in
front of Club Envy in Sarasota. A 21-year-old man was stabbed to death in
- A 20-year-old Bradenton man and two 17-year-olds from Palmetto were
arrested June 7 on charges they fired shots in a Bradenton gas station
parking lot after leaving Club Heat, according to Herald archives.
- A 15-year-old Tampa boy died Dec. 28, 2004 after being shot in the head
during a fight on 15th Avenue East that Bradenton police believe started
at Club Heat.
- An 18-year-old Palmetto man died and two others were wounded in an October
2004 shooting in the parking lot of the Coliseum Nightclub in Bradenton.