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Transfer of nightclub’s alcohol license denied before shooting

State denied alcohol license transfer

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — State licensing records reviewed by News 8 on Monday showed state officials denied a request to transfer the alcohol license of a bar where a mass shooting happened this past weekend.

Off-duty IMPD officers who were providing security at 11:11 Bar and Grille shot and killed a man who opened fire early Sunday morning in the parking lot outside the restaurant. One officer and four other people were wounded and are expected to recover. It was the second mass shooting at a nightclub in Indianapolis in eight days. One man was killed and five others wounded in a shooting at Landsharks in Broad Ripple on March 16.

11:11 occupies the space that once held Fuzion Ultra Lounge, and was in the process of transferring Fuzion’s alcohol license. During a hearing on the matter on March 4, members of the Marion County Alcoholic Beverage Board closely questioned the owner over a number of what they called inconsistencies in her answers to their questions about her use of the space and the findings of inspections by state excise officers. Board members said the owner only told them 11:11 would serve brunch and never mentioned anything about late-night bar operations. They also raised questions about the ratio of food to bar service.

The board ultimately voted to recommend a denial of the license transfer from Fuzion to 11:11. The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission agreed and denied the request last Tuesday. ATC officials said 11:11 had been operating under Fuzion’s alcohol license while the transfer process moved forward, a practice allowed under state law. The ATC denied both the transfer application and an extension of Fuzion’s license. 11:11 is appealing the decision and was allowed to continue serving alcohol during the process.

Regulations of bars and nightclubs fall under the purview of the ATC and its enforcement arm, the Indiana State Excise Police. Local law enforcement, such as IMPD, does not perform inspections. IMPD Lt. Shane Foley said the department does meet with business owners and provide suggestions of ways to make their establishments safer. IMPD allows its officers to work as security guards when off-duty, as the IMPD officers at 11:11 were the night of the shooting.

“Most of the businesses in our city are responsible, Foley said. “They’re taking proper steps to ensure that their patrons, that their employees, that people who may visit are safe and are able to do that in a way that they’re having a good time as well.”

Calls and text messages to the numbers listed for both 11:11 and Fuzion were not returned. ATC officials told News 8 excise officers are also investigating the shooting, and the permit transfer will likely be on the agenda at the commission’s next meeting Tuesday.