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Charlotte bar’s alcohol permit suspended following shooting

The state ABC Commission announced Saturday that it has suspended the alcohol permit for a Charlotte bar near Central Avenue where two people were shot last Sunday.

This marks the first time a bar in the Charlotte region has had its alcohol permit yanked under a streamlined process that the state board began in 2010 to deal with violence at bars and clubs.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police found one of the two people shot, Jose Jesus Hernandez-Diaz, 26, dead in a pickup truck on the club’s premises. The other man, found inside the bar, was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Effective immediately, El Gavilan, in the 3800 block of Driftwood Drive, cannot serve alcohol.

The suspension will remain in effect until the case is heard by the Office of Administrative Hearings. A date has not yet been set.

The bar’s owner could not be reached for comment.

North Carolina is one of 17 states that regulate alcohol sales with a licensing system.

In April 2010, the N.C. ABC Commission started its Last Call initiative to streamline the process for suspending violent bars’ and clubs’ permits. El Gavilan is the 19th bar to be suspended since Last Call began.

Six businesses were suspended in 2010 after the initiative began, three in 2011, six in 2012, and four this year. The ABC Commission also suspended a Fayetteville bar’s liquor license after a recent fatal shooting there.

“The N.C. ABC Commission is taking a firm position on this very serious issue,” said the chairman, James Gardner, in a statement.

The ABC Commission said El Gavilan had a history of violence and ABC law violations.

In September 2011, a CMPD detective met with El Gavilan’s owner, Jose Tejada, commission records show. Both signed a form saying that they had discussed security matters and over-serving alcohol.

In October 2012, the CMPD sent Tejada a letter of concern about drunken patrons and violence at the bar. Less than a month later, the same detective saw people smoking marijuana, and bar staff pushing out a drunken patron trying to fight inside, records show.

The detective responded to an assault call at El Gavilan in January. A man had been hit in the face with a beer bottle or pool cue.

In last Sunday’s shootings, witnesses told police that they heard five gunshots in the bar, which happened after bar security was escorting out other people who were fighting.

Police have said friends of Hernandez-Diaz put him in the truck to try and get him help, but he died. The other man who was shot, described in commission reports as an intoxicated, older Hispanic man, was taken to a hospital.

Police believe the shooter fled to a nearby apartment complex. Investigators have said they’re trying to find a suspect who uses the aliases “Colocho” and “Douglas Ubaldo Valle Zuniga” in connection with the shootings.

Ruebens: 704-358-5294
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