Local News

Raleigh Nightclub Owners Tighten Security After Fatal Shooting

Posted April 26, 2006

— While police try to figure out why one man killed another in front of a Raleigh nightclub Saturday, nightclub owners are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"A shooting or a stabbing is the worst thing that can happen to anybody that owns a restaurant or a nightclub," said Steve Leonard, who has owned "The Office" in downtown Raleigh for three years.

Leonard's nightclub is just down the street from where the shooting happened. He has a strict dress code, zero tolerance for violence inside the club and employs off-duty Raleigh officers as security. He believes his responsibility doesn't end at the door.

"I feel that we're part responsible for what transpires outside your club," said Leonard.

Witnesses say staff at the Five Star Restaurant threw James Fant out of the nightclub after he and Terran Jennings fought over Jennings' date. When Jennings left, police say Fant approached him outside and shot him.

There were no off-duty officers working the door. By law, they are not required. But Leonard believes they are a necessary cost of doing business.

"The times we haven't had off-duty police officers, I find myself on the phone calling 911 because there's a fight out in the middle of the street," said Leonard. "Every time we don't have security, there's always a problem."

The owner of the Five Star Restaurant, Don Bender, said he's never had a problem at his business before Saturday. Police records also reflect that. He said the accused shooter, Fant, had always been well behaved in his bar. But as a precaution, the Bender says he is temporarily shortening hours on the weekend in order to concentrate on the restaurant business instead of the bar business.

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