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The Lodge temporarily closed after shots fired

Posted at 1:06 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 17:15:40-04

The City of Buffalo and Buffalo Police have temporarily closed The Lodge on Chippewa Street after a shots fired incident and fight early Monday morning.

City officials, including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, held a press conference Wednesday afternoon where it was announced known gang members were patrons of the Lodge that morning. The mayor says it is always the duty of a bar or restaurant to maintain peace and public orderand even though the fight and gunfire broke out in the street, the people involved had just come out of The Lodge. 

The owner of The Lodge spoke to 7 Eyewitness News off-camera. He says he received a letter from the City of Buffalo that says his bar and restaurant was being closed because a known gang member was allowed into The Lodge. The Lodge now must request a hearing to present their plan to move forward and ensure an incident like this one doesn't happen again. 

At 3 a.m. Monday, police received a call about a fight at The Lodge, where the bar and restaurant was hosting a "promoter party," a party where a promoter brings in patrons and guests and the venue supplies the alcohol.

Police say the people who got into a fight had some kind of confrontation inside the bar and then a group of around 150 people crowded the streets, where shots were fired.

According to B District Chief Joe Gramaglia, 25-year-old Keenon Fitzgerlad is facing charges including disorderly conduct, harassment, and resisting arrest. Another person is being treated at ECMC for injuries following the fight in the Delaware-Chippewa area.

"We believe that there were some opposing individuals that sparked something much larger," Gramaglia said at an afternoon news conference.

By the time officers arrived at the scene, more than 150 people had spilled out onto Chippewa. At about 3:15 a.m., shots were fired about 100 yards away from a 7 Eyewitness News photographer. The photographer was not hurt. 

Here's what our photographer witnessed:

Police are reviewing shell casings collected near the Hampton Inn on Delaware Avenue, and are also looking at surveillance footage and private recordings of the fight.

Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen tells 7 Eyewitness News he believes there should be a law in place requiring bars, restaurants and promoters to notify Buffalo Police when expecting a big group of people.

"That's really to benefit both party planners, bars, and the police. It's very hard to create a strategic plan if you don't know something's happening in the city," Pridgen said. "I want our police department to have all of the information possible to protect public safety."

Matthew Krupp, General Manager at The Lodge, says police were notified, and that notifying police when a party lets out is part of their secruity director's policy. In a statement, he says "[our security director's] procedure . . . was to call dispatch at 2:45 a.m. to request two patrol cars to show a presence on the street when our patrons exited so they felt safe. Tonight, we called at 2:45 a.m. as normal and were told that unless we had an ongoing emergency we wouldn't dispatch cars simply because we asked them to, that it didn't work that way and to call 911 if we needed to."

Krupp also says a few small fights broke out on Chippewa after the event ended, and that his own security team assisted in breaking them up until police arrived. 

The event held Sunday night was part of a monthly DJ series. The security staff at the event included 20 guards, and capacity was limited to 300 people.

Krupp's full statement can be read here: