MIAMI (WSVN) - A series of shootings in Miami’s Brickell section have left residents on edge, and some are voicing their concerns to the city’s chief of police.
Over the past five weeks, the community has witnessed a troubling uptick in gun-related incidents, with concerns centering around the vicinity of a popular bar, The Corner Club.
The most recent shooting occurred on Sunday night, and it sent a woman to the hospital.
According to City of Miami Police, the dispute between two groups that led to the gunfire began within the club but escalated when the parties involved exited onto Southwest 12th Street and South Miami Avenue.
“They have an argument inside the bar. The club kicks out half of the people; that gentleman goes out to his car. Ten minutes pass, he’s still sitting in the parking lot with the girl,” Miami Police Cmdr. Andres Valdes said. “The rest of the party comes out, and they basically attack him, vandalize his car, destroy his car.”
This incident, along with two prior shootings on Aug. 28 and Oct. 16, followed a similar pattern: an argument that originated inside the club and spilled outside, culminating in gunfire in the early hours of the morning.
The’re something no neighbor wants to hear.
“This is very scary, because 5 a.m. is a time where you could regularly be walking out to exercise,” said Brickell resident Juliana Cuartas.
“First time I heard it, I actually thought it was an automatic weapon and was fearful,” said Brickell resident Tara Faenza.
These residents said they don’t want to see Brickell burdened with bullets, and they want to see something done.
So does the Brickell Homeowners Association. They’ve asked city leaders and police to get the bar closed earlier than 5 a.m.
“I think it’s an absolutely needed measure, because the longer people are in these places consuming alcohol, the larger this is a call for trouble,” said Cuartas.
“I don’t have a specific hour that I think that they need to close, but there is a level of responsibility, I think, that comes from being so close to a school,” said Faenza.
Southside Elementary Museums Magnet School is located just down the street from The Corner Club.
But Valdes said the bar operates within established regulations and works closely with law enforcement to increase safety, and when it comes to running the establishment, everything is up to code.
“[Police] conducted a check of their licenses. Code enforcement verified that they did have an active 4COP,” Valdes said.
The club’s 4COP license allows it to serve alcohol until 5 a.m.
However, concerns about late-night partying and its proximity to the school have motivated the Brickell Homeowner’s Association to seek changes.
“Having that license and having them allow the – I guess the right to operate until 5 a.m., let’s say on a Sunday morning, poses a lot of issues and safety in terms of children,” said Abby Ape, director of the Brickell Homeowners Association.
Together with city leaders like Commissioner Sabina Covo, Miami Police Chief Manny Morales and code enforcement officials came together to address these concerns. They discussed the future of Brickell’s safety and explored potential measures to mitigate issues linked to the club.
“I do understand that the community has changed, so I guess changes are going to be made,” said Covo.
“We have the ability to negotiate and say, ‘Well, you need to reduce your hours on Sundays, and you need to put noise mitigation processes, and you need to have additional security and off guard,'” said Robert Santos-Alborná, director of Code Compliance for the City of Miami. “We can make certain requirements as part of the negotiation process.”
A spokesperson for The Corner Club did not immediately respond to 7News’ request for comment.
Police have installed live cameras at 12th Street and South Miami Avenue to monitor the area. The fire department will also go in the bar on any given weekend to ensure occupancy is at the correct level..
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