Five people were shot and a sixth person was injured early Saturday after two gunmen entered a restaurant in Shockoe Bottom at 5 a.m. with their faces covered, announced a robbery and opened fire, Richmond police said.

It was the second time in four days that multiple people were shot after midnight at businesses within a block of each other in the Bottom, which is an area where police already regularly patrol and block the streets on weekend nights.

Three people, including a bouncer, were injured Wednesday morning by a man who police say had been kicked out of the Plush Restaurant and Lounge in the 1700 block of East Main Street. Saturday’s shooting happened at Liquid Cafe around the corner from Plush.

The victims of both shootings are all expected to survive, and police are still trying to determine how the sixth person was injured at Liquid Cafe.

Richmond police said last week that they are looking into new strategies to curb a three-fold increase in aggravated assaults in the Bottom compared to last year. At least 11 people have been shot and four stabbed there this year.

“I am certain that we can all agree that this increasing gun violence in Shockoe Bottom is unacceptable. This cannot be the norm,” Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said in a statement Saturday. “Someone knows the perpetrators of this crime, and we need the public’s help.

“We are already working with several stakeholders in the Shockoe Bottom community, and we will continue to develop public safety strategies to reduce violence and bring a sense of calm to the area,” Durham said.

Around 9 a.m. Saturday, Liquid Cafe and much of the surrounding block of 18th Street were surrounded by yellow crime scene tape and blocked by police vehicles. About a half-dozen police officers and detectives combed the area near the restaurant, shooing people away from the cordoned-off area.

David Napier, president of the Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association, said Liquid Cafe is not active in the neighborhood group. He does not know who owns it.

“It’s pretty much known that they operate all night long,” he said.

Liquid Cafe is licensed by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority to sell beer and wine and has a mixed-beverage license, according to agency spokeswoman Dawn Eischen.

“We are currently investigating and any facts discovered during this investigation will determine if ABC action is necessary,” she said in a text message. “Our Bureau of Law Enforcement conducts public safety investigations when an act of violence has resulted in death or bodily harm in or near an ABC-licensed establishment.”

A call to the restaurant was not answered Saturday. The voicemail box was full.

Licensees can serve alcohol until 2 a.m. and stay open longer as long as they do not sell alcohol. Private clubs can serve alcohol beyond 2 a.m.

Eischen said Liquid Cafe was not licensed as a private club — a source of speculation Saturday on why it might have been open at such an unusual hour, past its listed closing time of 3 a.m.

Shockoe Bottom merchants interviewed Saturday said they knew little of Liquid Cafe.

“I got all these phone calls that said it looked like something had happened in front of my pub,” said Mac McCormack of McCormack’s Irish Pub, who had ventured down to the block Saturday morning to check on his establishment.

McCormack has operated the pub for 21 years, and total sales hovered steadily between $650,000 and $700,000 annually for a decade, but by 2010, they had dropped to $62,000 as a result of the violence, he said.

Napier said Saturday, “It’s sad we have to go through this so often.

“Activities down in Shockoe Bottom are not tolerated anywhere else in the city or the surrounding counties,” he said. “It’s an area where people can come and act foolishly and not have consequences.”

“This kind of scrutiny is needed of the clubs down there,” Napier said of the fresh wave of police and ABC attention, adding there are restaurants and clubs trying to abide by the law that “are being pushed out of business by a few bad actors.”

In Wednesday’s case, police said 25-year-old Darroll G. Allen of Chesterfield County had been kicked out of Plush before returning to the club about 2 a.m. and began shooting outside, striking a bouncer, another man and a woman.

Allen has been charged with malicious wounding and a related firearm charge in connection with the shooting. More charges are pending, according to police.

On Friday, ABC suspended Plush’s license to sell beer and wine and revoked its liquor license after an initial investigation of the shooting, according to Eischen.

The suspension will remain in effect pending the results of a formal investigation, she said, though a business can apply for a restricted license.

“Virginia ABC believes that there is a continued threat to public safety at this establishment and these actions are necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public,” Eischen said.

The club’s mixed-beverage license was on temporary status because of prior concerns about the business.

Police were asking anyone with information about the robbery to call Major Crimes Detective Nathan Reese at (804) 510-4183 or contact Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips app for smartphones may also be used. All three Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

One resident who lives about a half-block from the shootings was incredulous when told there had been an armed robbery at Liquid Cafe, saying she didn’t hear anything.

Lesa Fleet, an artist who was preparing to open Shockoe Bottom Clay Gallery, said she learned about the shootings from the news.

“I’ve seen this place go up and down since 2004 because I used to be at the market,” where she sold ceramics and jewelry, she said. “It’s gotten better. It’s just a few (expletives) who don’t care.”

As for the Bottom, “it’s basically safe in the daytime,” she said. “After 10, I wouldn’t be here.”

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(29) comments

Drake D Butler

“the Bottom, which is an area where police already regularly patrol and block the streets on weekend nights.”

Heightened police presence has proven useless. Citizens continue to fear to walk the streets of the city. The only proven way to reduce shootings nationally is tougher gun control.

Other large large first world democracies have dramatically fewer shootings than the USA because of common sense controls on the supply of guns. Fewer guns = fewer gun deaths.

Dennis Hannick

“Heightened police presence has proven useless. The only proven way to reduce shootings nationally is tougher gun control.” So, Drake doesn’t want more cops to enforce the laws, he just wants more laws. BWAHAHA! What a putz. His arguments for more gun laws of “1st world democracies” are just so much noise and a pretense for his willingness to gut the Constitution as it meets his agenda. Finally Drake, you have exposed the true elitist you are.

Drake D Butler

"Drake doesn’t want more cops to enforce the laws, he just wants more laws.".

Dennis wants to turn the USA into a police state with cops looking over everybody's shoulder to enforce the laws. He would rather see people controlled than guns.

Dennis Hannick

Drake wrote that he is: “Someone who believes in the constitution realizes it is just a piece of paper that was agreed to a few centuries back and so called “rights” may need to be interpreted differently for 21st century society.” For someone who was insulting me for being unpatriotic and not upholding the Constitution, you finally show your true colors. Those “so called rights” are what make us Americans and our people have died to defend. Drake has shown us just what he thinks of all the sacrifices of those who have died for this country and our freedoms and liberty. Yes, there is his contempt of America and all it stands for. His arguments for more gun laws of “1st world democracies” are just so much noise and a pretense for his willingness to gut the Constitution as it meets his agenda. Finally Drake, you have exposed the true elitist you are.

Drake D Butler

haha... Dennis... SO PTSD'ed from his gun arguments getting taken to the woodshed over and over again, all he can do is make up something about my "beliefs". Dennis is happy to let tens of thousands of Americans die every year for his so called "rights". Talk about showing your true colors!
When all else fails, when their "alternative facts" continue to fail, the low-education voters that Rump loves so well just fall back on "beliefs".
Good luck with that!

SHARON MORRISSEY

CCTV

ALLEN TUCKER

CCTV... Make those CCTV's open and available for 24 hr. viewing, by the public for viewing 365 days a year. Those who are watching out of boredom will catch things first hand that the authorities simply don't have man-hours or personnel to catch. on a channel like a Richmond-version of C-Span (An example of such a person(s) might be: a good Samaritan(s), watching and monitoring, while bed-ridden, in a hospital bed ) This eventually would lead to crook awareness that you are being watchedat large from god only knows who, just as would be as if that person was on a second floor level, looking down. The "big-Brother fear would be eliminated because EVERYONE would have public view-access to the public security cameras, that are publicly provided thru public tax dollars on public streets. What could be democratic than that !-? Info provided could universally be witnessed and consumed by anyone on Earth. NOT just the "authorities" Innocently and without malice. Its all about "Control = Happiness"

ALLEN TUCKER

Edit to former and Addendums... CCTV... Make those CCTV's open and available for 24 hr. viewing, by the public( at large ), for viewing 365 days a year. Those who are watching out of boredom or whatever... could potentially catch things first hand that the authorities simply don't have man-hours or personnel to catch. ( place the video viewing, in real-time-mode ONLY ) on a Richmond-internet-channel version of C-Span. An example of such a person(s) who might be watching, might be: a good samaritan(s), while bed-ridden, in a hospital somewhere. Such cameras would eventually lead to the crook(s) being made self-aware that they are being watched, at large, from god only knows who. That viewer would have the same view, as if on a second floor level of a building, overlooking them. The "big-Brother" fear factor would greatly be lessened due to EVERYONE having the same equal-access to the view. The cameras would have to be publically owned security cameras, they should be public financed and provided by public tax dollars as needed. Such cameras should only be placed on public property and on public streets. CCTV could enhance the publics security and safety, in a non-personnel fashion. What could be democratic than that !-? The info provided could universally be witnessed and consumed by anyone on Earth, anywhere who has access to the internet. NOT just the "authorities" having NON-public-suspicious-access, but access for the entire viewing public, innocently viewing the assumed innocent public. Its all about "Control = Happiness"

BILL BEVILLE

It is a coffee shop folks.... and we all know the description of the suspects. Who else has most of the illegal guns in this city?

ALLEN TUCKER

Ghetto'nese perhaps ?

James McIntyre

Richmond will soon become worse than Chicago . . .You need a bulletproof vest to visit downtown Richmond and it's getting worse !

DONALD THORNLEY

"The two armed males went into Liquid Cafe" This is the only description? No witnesses who can be more precise? No cameras?

Ron Melancon

They are Russian

ALLEN TUCKER

2-White-Russians... or was that their command at the bartender ? !-What-?... no tip ! Well... That's "VERY" typical... Indeed !

TRACY PETERS

Richmond is beginning to give Chicago a run for its money and bragging rights…..

Now, if we could just get shed of the police, guns and liquor licenses, and replace them with self-policing, the jaw bone of as*es and marijuana, utopia would be the new Shockoe Bottom ….. with absolutely no change in clientele. Burp ….. and period.

ALLISON WILLIAMS

Did I understand the article correctly that the shooting occurred at 5 am and there were still people in the establishment? Surely that is past legal closing hours, isn’t it?

Ron Melancon

Good catch yes they were opened beyond the legal operation hours.

JA Jones

They can be open , just cant sell alcohol. It states that in the article.

ALLEN TUCKER

Yes, I caught that too. while reading it.

Jeff Woods

Having worked in bars and clubs in the bottom, it is not uncommon for the employees to hang out after the places close to count the money, divide the tips and clean the place. We always did it with a locked door though, so I'm not sure as to why they were able to gain entry.

FRED TALBOTT

That appears to be one tough block!

Jeff Woods

It used to be a great block back in the late 80's and early 90's. All the bars lined the street and there were so many people it was like going to the beach. Cars jammed downtown in almost a strip fashion. But soon after people started going to the fan to drink instead of downtown. Many of the original bars closed and were replaced with shadier places that attracted less than desirable clientele. This is a byproduct of that shift.

Fred Mertz

The alcoholic beverage license suspensions will be short lived since they will cut into the city's DUI revenue.

Robert Moffett

Effective immediately all clubs and bars should be required to close by 1 AM. There is little legitimate reason for anyone to be in a bar or club at 5 a.m.

Jeff Kleb

Maybe they serve an early breakfast. 🙄

ALLEN TUCKER

Excellent point !

B LEVIN

who should get to judge whether my reason is legitimate? who should get to judge whether your reason to do something at another place and time is legitimate?

ALLEN TUCKER

LEGITIMATE REASON... means 'correct or acceptable according to a LAW or RULE'... And just what do "YOU" mean by " legitimate reason " ? Any reason or "no reason at all" is and are " legitimate reason(s)". It may not fit your lifestyle-patterns, EXPECTATIONS and reasons, but not everyone lives as you expect or should, OR even want to... or try to. Its a free country ( or so, I was lead to believe? ) and LEGAL FREEDOMS don't have open and closed hours... It's a lifetime thing. An Americans legal freedoms are 24-hours everyday, 365 days event every year, since at least 1776.

Jeff Woods

Last call is at 1:30am and the bars are to be closed at 2am. Given that this happened at 5am tells my that the staff was probably close to being done with counting the money and splitting tips. If you were going to rob a place (like on of these bars) 5am or even sooner would be the best time to do it. You don't rob a place when it's packed with customers, you do it when all the tills are out of the registers and the cash is out in the open. Still don't understand how they gained entry.

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