Police say the incident took place about 1:30 a.m. March 1. According to the police report, an altercation that began inside Woody’s, 202 S. 13th St., moved outside, at which point someone fired up to two shots.
No one was hit, and police said the shots may have been fired into the air.
Woody’s co-owner Michael Weiss told PGN two customers got into an argument inside and were escorted outside, at which time one seemingly retrieved a handgun from his vehicle.
“From what I understand, two customers were arguing over something and security escorted them out, as we do for everyone’s safety. We have a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of altercations, whether they be verbal or physical,” Weiss said, noting that the weapon was not inside Woody’s at any time. “We have a witness who said that after the guys were escorted out, the one guy said to his friend, ‘Let’s go to my car and get the gun and come back.’ And at that point, we called the police.”
The report was filed by two men, 24 and 25, who were involved in the initial altercation, said police spokesperson Officer Christine O’Brien.
“They both stated they were involved in the altercation in and outside of Woody’s,” O’Brien said. “Outside of the bar, an unknown person fired one or two shots from a handgun. There was this disturbance, so they didn’t see who fired the gun.”
O’Brien said the two men who reported the altercation said it involved a 25-year-old Hispanic male, who was about 5-foot-6, with a thin build and wearing a gray tank top. But, since no one saw the shots being fired, police do not know if this individual is the gunman, she said.
“They heard the shots but didn’t see them,” she said. “They don’t know if he did it or if someone else did because the disturbance was causing a crowd. We don’t know if the shots were fired into someone’s direction or shot straight into the air to disperse the crowd. That hasn’t been determined.”
Weiss said the venue does have video surveillance outside.
“It is an ongoing investigation and we are working closely with police,” Weiss said.
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, the department’s LGBT liaison, said bar-related incidents are not uncommon, although gun violence in the Gayborhood is.
“We very rarely get that kind of activity down there,” Bethel said. “We’ve seen problems across the city when you mix alcohol and negative behavior; you run the risk of encountering somebody who brings more to a fight than fists. It’s not an uncommon occurrence, but very rarely do we get a shooting or gunshots in that area. I have no particular concerns at this time [about related incidents], but we’ll make sure we’re out in the area with all our resources to keep an eye on everything.”
Weiss said Woody’s, which pays for its own police detail, takes the safety of its patrons seriously. He said the incident points to the need for stricter gun laws.
“While I understand people have constitutional rights to carry arms, a lot of our elected officials in the city, including our district attorney, are trying to get the laws changed for people having guns in the city, making the penalties more severe and trying to eliminate the right to carry inside the city. We 100-percent support all politicians trying to do that,” he said. “We do everything we can as a business to protect our customers. We can’t control what people do once they leave our building, and we can’t control what the existing laws are.”