Shootings Followed Open-Mic Battle at Central Bar

photo(360)Daniel Maurer Police vehicles at Campos Plaza last night.

The gunshots that rang out near the corner of Third Avenue and East Ninth Street last night followed a dispute at The Central Bar, The Local has learned. That altercation ultimately led to an early-morning shooting in Alphabet City that sent a man to the hospital, according to residents of Campos Plaza.

A source who reviewed Central Bar’s security tapes, but who did not want to be named, said the fight broke out at last night’s “Rock Da Blok” competition, staged by a longtime bouncer at the East Ninth Street sports pub. According to the source, there were about 30 to 40 people in the bar’s upstairs events space when a fight broke out around 10:40 p.m. “The fight lasted about a minute. I didn’t see anyone with a gun or anything like that,” he said. “The bouncers came in, broke it up, and the guys were thrown out. There were three or four people involved and it broke up quickly. I didn’t see anyone getting very badly hurt.”

Barry Feeney, a manager at Central Bar, told The Local that the organizer of the event was a “good guy and works hard.” He said, “One of my employees asked if he could use the upstairs for an open mic. There were 20 people there, mostly his friends, hanging out and singing at six, seven o’clock in the evening.”

After the men were ejected, shots were reported near the corner of East Ninth Street and Third Avenue. The bar was closed “as soon as there were cops on the corner,” said Mr. Feeney. “We were advised to shut everything down.”

Earlier today, a post on the Facebook page of the event’s organizer, Fordablok Blokville, said, “On behalf of Blokville, we just wanted to thank everyone who showed up and apologize for the situation that occurred. That is NOT what Blokville is about.” The post was later removed.

The police were unable to say whether the incident was related to a subsequent shooting near 12th Street and Avenue C, but neighbors told Dereese Huff, president of the Campos Plaza Tenant Association, that the beef started at Central Bar and spilled over into Campos. Ms. Huff was told the victim, shot in the leg around 12:20 a.m., was not badly wounded. “Someone tied up his leg for him as best as he could so he didn’t bleed out, and then he went to the hospital. It wasn’t a bad shot, it was a clean shot and he was able to walk afterwards,” she said. “There wasn’t a lot of blood. He was just mad.”

She said Campos Plaza residents were “in an uproar” and are still clamoring for additional security cameras they requested last March. “There was no police protection here last night at all. I don’t understand it,” she said.

Aida Salgado, whose son Donovan “Keith” Salgado was shot to death last year just a few blocks from her front door in Campos Plaza, also heard the fighting had “escalated” after beginning at Central Bar, and shared some of Ms. Huff’s concerns about lack of security. “We’re supposed to be having surveillance Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays,” she said. “There was none. This is ridiculous. It continues to go on. When are we going to step up and do something?”

Ms. Huff is convinced this won’t be the end of the violence. “I’m telling you,” she said, “There’s going to be retaliation.”