Local News, News, Providence

Board of Licenses shuts down nightclub after shots fired at police

[anvplayer video=”893004″ /] PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — The Board of Licenses voted to close a Providence nightclub for 72 hours following an incident where police say a man fired shots at officers early Friday morning.

At the emergency meeting Friday afternoon, Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin said Aqua Lounge has not been deemed at fault, but asked the Board to close it for “public safety.”

“We do believe that we need this place to be closed until we can come to some sort of conclusion about where the actions of the individual lie, and whether there was any fault with the club,” Maj. Lapatin said.

The Broad Street club will be closed until Monday, when the Board will revisit the matter.

Police say just after midnight Friday, about 40 people rushed out of the Aqua Lounge and across the street to a parking lot, where a fight broke out. Police say officers tried to break up the fight, after which many of the people went back inside the Lounge. That’s when they say Larenta Draper, 24, fired shots in the direction of police officers from a moving car.

“Officers see a man pointing a gun, they see muzzle flash, with gun shots fired at the police officers,” said Col. Hugh Clements, Chief of Providence Police.

Clements says Draper fled in the car, which he then crashed into a fence on Route 10. He was apprehended after a foot chase and arraigned on numerous firearms and driving charges Friday.

Col. Clements praised the police officers on scene, who apprehended Draper without ever returning fire.

“Their decision at that time, and I never second guess, was not to return fire…every step of the way they made the right decision,” Clements said.

At the BOL meeting, police said “usual patrons” of the Aqua Lounge got in a fight with some patrons who don’t typically frequent the bar. Police said the fight apparently started over romantic jealousy, and the group was asked to leave the bar.

aqua loungePolice are still investigating whether anyone at the bar called 911.

“I’m not putting any fault or blame,” Lapatin told the Board. He also said the owner of Aqua Lounge claims he was assaulted during the incident.

“We don’t want the owner back there, and the patrons being victimized,” Lapatin said.”We’re worried they could come back, and things could escalate.”

Through his attorney, the owner of Aqua Lounge declined to comment.