Deadly shooting prompts crackdown on illegal liquor houses
Posted April 17, 2015
Fayetteville, N.C. — A recent deadly shooting at an illegal liquor house in Fayetteville is a reminder, Alcohol Law Enforcement agents say, of the problem of people serving alcohol without a license.
ALE agents say they are working to keep up with the growing number of operations across the state.
According to ALE agent Jason Locklear, liquor houses operate similar to an after-hours night club, and they present additional challenges for law enforcement.
"So you would go to the clubs up on Bragg Boulevard or anywhere in the city, and you show up here at this location after they close at 2:30," Locklear said. "Many of these locations are hangouts for individuals that are engaged in prostitution, drug activity, weapons and stolen guns."
On April 5, Ivery Montreat Elliott, 34, was killed and two other people were injured in a shooting during a party at 357 Dick Street in Fayetteville.
Izaak Eugene Bridges, 40, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting. According to authorities, Bridges' son was murdered at a Hope Mills liquor house on Gumberry Court in January.
In 2014, ALE agents searched about 900 liquor houses across North Carolina. So far this year, agents have searched 126.
"What we do not want to do is become a reactionary agency," Locklear said. "We don't want to start reacting. We want to get in front of this and shut the places down before death takes place."
According to authorities, liquor house operators use social media to move parties from house to house in attempt to stay ahead of law enforcement officers.
Since January, 16 people have been injured and four people have died as a result of liquor house shootings in Harnett and Cumberland counties, authorities said.