Witness: Providence shooting victim involved in dispute at nightclub

Photo: Justin White/WPRI-TV

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A friend of a man who was found bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest on South Water Street early on New Year’s Day told Providence police the victim had been involved in a dispute inside a nearby nightclub earlier in the night.

Police responded to the area around 3 a.m. Monday for reports of shots fired. The victim, whose name, has not been released, was found in the driver’s seat of a Toyota Avalon, according to an incident report.

The victim was taken to Rhode Island Hospital and was in stable condition, according to the report. Police said he would not cooperate with the investigation.

But the witness said the victim had been involved in an altercation over a woman on the dance floor inside Club Penthouse earlier in the night. The man said his friend told him to “keep your eyes open when we leave” the club.

While the two men were in a parking lot adjacent to James Street, an unknown man fired a shot toward the car.

The club has come under scrutiny in recent months after the Providence Board of Licenses attempted to revoke its liquor license after ruling that it had people on its premises after 2:30 a.m., allowed someone to enter the club after 1 a.m., and violated a city ordinance that prohibits nudity on premises where alcohol is sold. The state Department of Business Regulation allowed it to reopen.

The club was also temporarily closed by the licensing board in October after several shots were fired near the club. The incident led to the resignation of board Chairman Juan Pichardo, who was roundly criticized by city leaders for allowing a hearing on the club to be postponed a few days before the shots were fired.

Attorneys for the club are expected to appear in front of the board regarding a previous incident Wednesday.

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Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan