Vista Club Owner Believes He Was Shut Down Unfairly

The Empire Supper Club and Lounge was declared a public nuisance and shut down after a shooting early Saturday morning.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Empire Supper Club and Lounge was declared a public nuisance and shut down after a shooting early Saturday morning.

The club's owner, Joseph Stovall, does not believe the club should be at fault.

"People were just exiting peacefully, happy," Stovall said, "and they didn't deserve to be shot."

Stovall says he caught part of the incident as he was shooting video outside of his club around 2AM Saturday morning.
 
 
"I quickly stopped so I could take cover myself," Stovall said.
 
He says the shooters shouldn't be associated with his business.
 
"To me it was a random shooting, we have no idea why someone would do that," Stovall said.
 
But Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook doesn't agree.
 
"At this time, I have declared the business Empire Supper Club a public nuisance," Chief Holbrook said at a press conference on the incident. "I have revoked the business license and the building has been padlocked."
 
"I don't understand that," Stovall said. "They spoke to guests on the street, they spoke to me, they asked very specifically, 'What happened inside? Was there anything, did he put anybody out, was there a fight?' No, there was not. We had a peaceful night."
 
Stovall says he plans to fight this decision and hopes to one day reopen.
 
"I'm from Chicago, I came down here with a dream to open up a cool place, fancy place where people could go and have a good time," Stovall said. "I don't think it's fair."
 
 
 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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