City seeks to revoke Club Luv’s license following triple shooting

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A city attorney has asked the Providence Board of Licenses to revoke a nightclub’s license after three people were shot in the business’s parking lot.

Club Luv has been closed since a May 7 shootout outside the club after staff cleared out the patrons. Three people were shot in the incident.

Police testified earlier this week that the violence stemmed from an altercation between two groups in the VIP section of the club, though the business’s attorney, Peter Petrarca, said the video surveillance does not provide solid evidence that it involved the same people.

Board of Licenses Chairman Juan Pichardo said the board would issue a decision next Wednesday; meanwhile the business will remain closed. Petrarca said he may go to the R.I. Department of Business Regulation (DBR) if the board does not decide by Monday.

Assistant City Solicitor Mario Martone said in his closing argument on day two of the club’s show cause hearing that two of the victims were inside Club Luv prior to the shooting, while the other was not. He said one of the victims remains hospitalized.

“We’ve seen this fact pattern before, we know this is the responsibility of the establishment,” Martone said in his closing statement on Thursday. “As this board is aware the establishment is responsible for what occurs both inside the establishment and outside.”

Martone said while security staff ushered people out of the building when the argument in the VIP section began, security cameras outside showed there was no staff in the parking lot when “one to two hundred” patrons spilled out. He said if security were present, maybe the shooting could have been avoided.

“Does it make any sense to keep all your staff inside and at the same time you have 100, 200 people outside with no security presence at all?” he said.

Martone recommended the board revoke the club’s license.

Petrarca pushed back, saying the club – now entering its second full week of closure – should receive “time served.”

“My client got on the stand and told you exactly what he did,” Petrarca said. “He did his best to disperse what he thought was the problem. No one told a story, no one lied, no one hid anything.”

Petrarca said history has shown the DBR has overturned sanctions handed down by the board for similar cases in the past at other clubs, including a 2012 shooting outside what was then Club Monet where two men were struck with bullets.

“While we clearly understand it is a serious issue, there was nothing more they could have done to prevent that,” Petrarca said. “It’s the society we live in.”

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook