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Should local businesses close earlier because of crime?

Posted at: 01/14/2013 5:19 PM
Updated at: 01/14/2013 5:48 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren

News10NBC is digging deeper into a shooting early Sunday at Gitsis Restaurant on Monroe Avenue. A Fairport woman, Jackie Walker, was injured. Rochester Police don't believe the shooting was intentional.    

Officers were talking to 30-year-old James Harvey of Virginia Beach. They had been alerted by a security guard and someone else in the restaurant that a man may have had a gun. According to Chief James Sheppard, while officers were talking to Harvey, he reached for the gun and it went off.

Gitsis is a popular spot. A lot of people spend time in that area. This isn't the first shooting at Gitsis and it's not the first shooting on that stretch of Monroe Avenue. Mark's Texas Hots right down the street has had incidents in the past and further down Monroe Avenue, there was a fatal shooting at the Bug Jar last year.

Adam McFadden, City Councilman, said, “The person that did this shooting is irresponsible and somebody that should pay for what they did.”

Rocheser Police have a suspect, 30-year-old James Harvey, in custody. Police say they were approached by a security guard at Gitsis who believed Harvey had a gun inside the restaurant. While police were talking to him, they say the gun went off, hitting 31-year-old Jackie Walker.

News10NBC found out there were two other shootings at Gitsis back in 2007 and 2008 and another shooting around the corner at Mark's Texas Hots, also in 2007. In 2008, Rochester City Council talked about forcing both Gitsis and Mark's Texas Hots to close earlier. News10NBC asked city's public safety chair, Adam McFadden, if he thought late night hours should be discussed again.

McFadden said, “The issue is really about the people that are committing the crime, not about the hours or the location. I think that we can close all of the late night eateries and we're still going to see violence in our community.”

But cuitting hours has been done before. Nick Tahoes on West Main Street voluntarily cut its hours because of incidents in 1999 and the city shut down Mark's Texas Hots on Lake Avenue because of repeated calls.

McFadden said, “I would say this, we shouldn't have done that in that case either. I’m not a supporter of doing that either. I think it's a shortcut of trying to solve a problem that it won't fix.”

Chief James Sheppard, Rochester Police, said, “I think if we go through the process of not having open restaurants we're going to have a problem somewhere else.”

McFadden believes the issue isn't the businesses, but the irresponsible choices of individuals.

McFadden said, “We have people who don't respect and value life. I think that sometimes we get caught up in the hour and the location of the incident versus making the person who did this shooting accountable for their actions.”

Gitsis does have a security guard and security cameras. The chief said the restaurant followed all the rules to a T. There was an on-duty officer in Gitsis at the time too.

The owner of Nick Tahou's, would voluntarily decided to cut his hours because of the rough crowd late at night says it should be the business owner's decision, not the city. Alex Tahou says if the businesses want to protect their employees and their customers, they should consider it.