WRAL Investigates

Shooting prompts re-examination of Raleigh nightclub

Posted May 24, 2010 1:42 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2010 3:28 p.m. EDT

— A shooting early Monday has city officials calling for a closer look at a Raleigh nightclub that has a history of violence.

"This, coupled with other incidents, has us very concerned, and we are working with our city attorney, our police legal adviser and the (police) district to do all we can to bring all the pressures to bare to correct this very serious problem," Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan said Monday.

Police responded around 2:30 a.m. to reports of two people being shot at Club Envy, at 3201 New Bern Ave. Investigators did not release the victims' names or say anything about their injuries.

According to police records, officers have been called to the address more than 200 times since January 2009 on complaints including 31 assaults, 10 disturbances, fighting, one attempted rape, one rape, two shootings, eight shots fired, five stabbings and two strong-armed robberies.

In 2007, a man was shot to death outside the club, known then as Black Tie Nightlife, prompting the city to review the club and city ordinances.

Since then, the city has tightened some regulations, but Mayor Charles Meeker said that, in light of recent events, the City Council will likely look at the club again and see what else needs to change.

"Anytime you've got guns and late-night activity and alcohol, it's a problem," Meeker said. "That site has been a problem for years. With the most recent incident, it is time for the council to review whether the site has become a public nuisance."

Residents and other businesses in the area, including WakeMed, have also expressed concerns over years. They want the club closed

Club Envy sits across the street from WakeMed. Not only is the hospital concerned about the safety of its visitors, it has direct fallout from the violence. They have treated three stabbing and two shooting victims from the club in the past two months.

"This is something, if let undone, it is going to get someone killed, and it may be someone quite innocent, in the process," WakeMed Chief Executive Dr. Bill Atkinson said. "It is just unacceptable."

Ben Becker, who owns the club, bought out his partner, Richard Ryder, in October and changed the name from Black Tie to Club Envy, according to public records. Neither Becker nor the principal property owner, Bill Peebles, could not be reached for comment.