Matt Okarmus, Montgomery Advertiser
Two young adults are dead, a city council is "embarrassed" and a local business owner is closing her doors for good after a shooting early Saturday at a local bar and grill.
Glenn Thomas, 22, known professionally as rapper Doe B, and Kimberle Johnson, 21, a social work major at Troy University, were killed in the shooting at Centennial Hill Bar & Grill in the 900 block of Highland Avenue. Six other people were shot and injured. The deaths of Thomas and Johnson, both of Montgomery, mark the city's 47th and 48th homicides of 2013, police said.
Police were called to the bar and grill about 1 a.m. Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene. Thomas was taken to Baptist Medical Center South, where he later was pronounced dead, police said.
It was the second time in about a year that there were multiple people shot at the location, prompting Mayor Todd Strange on Saturday to act on behalf of the city to close the business. There has been a nightclub at the location dating back to 1979, when it operated under the name Top Flight.
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"Effective immediately, the city of Montgomery has taken action to close the Centennial Hill Bar and Grill on Highland Avenue, which operated previously as the Rose Supper Club," Strange said in a statement. "We do not take this action lightly but believe this decision is compelled by clear evidence that continued operation of this establishment poses an imminent threat to the public's safety."
"I believe it is not a matter of 'if,' but 'when' the next tragic incident occurs at this business," he continued. "That is unacceptable, and that is why we have ordered the business to be closed effective immediately."
Owner Nicole Bankhead said policy at the business was for security officers to check patrons for firearms. Signs posted on all the entrance doors prohibit firearms inside the building.
Police on Saturday confirmed the shooting took place inside the building. Bankhead, who said she was at the business but not near the area where the shooting occurred, said she "has no idea what happened."
A December 2012 shooting at the location that injured six people prompted the Alabama ABC Board's Hearing Commission to revoke the liquor license of the Rose Supper Club in January 2013. The Montgomery City Council granted a liquor license to Bankhead, a former bartender-manager at the Rose Supper Club, for the new business in September.
"On behalf of the (Montgomery) City Council, we are all very upset with this. We are totally embarrassed that it happened in the city of Montgomery," council President Charles Jinright said.
According to Montgomery Advertiser files, there have been shootings in and around the bar and grill's location in the past, including fatal shootings in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In March 2007, local rapper Eugene "Nawty Shawty" Smith was shot to death during an anniversary celebration for his group, Deuce Komradz.
On New Year's Day 2008, Bernard Mitchell was shot in the chest and robbed in the Rose Supper Club parking lot.
Marquette Collins was shot to death March 2009, and he was found slumped against the steering wheel of a car outside the Rose.
Bankhead, who said she wanted to change the atmosphere of the business by making it a bar and grill, on Saturday called the shooting incident "awful" and said she was "very sorry for everyone's loss."
Bankhead said she does not plan to reopen. She said she turned in her retail liquor license Saturday.
Her comment came a few hours before an Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board news release stating her license had been suspended.
"Considering this matter, as well as the history of the premises, to include violence, the agency finds that danger to the public health, safety or welfare requires an emergency suspension of this license, effective immediately," stated Mac Gipson, ABC Board administrator.
Although Bankhead said she didn't plan to reopen the business, there is an option under an emergency suspension that allows for her to request the license be reinstated. A hearing must be held within 120 days in that case.
Police said the circumstances surrounding the shooting are under investigation, and no arrests have been made. The six people who were injured were taken from the scene to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries. They all were listed in stable condition Saturday evening, police said.