Crime, Local News, News, Providence

Officer: Nightclub stabbing suspect tried to make getaway on party bus

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence nightclub will stay closed for another few days after a violent incident outside the business over the weekend.

The Providence Board of Licenses Monday heard testimony from police concerning a fight and stabbing outside Van Gogh Lounge early Saturday morning. One man was stabbed and another knocked unconscious.

A Providence police officer who was working a private detail at Van Gogh at the time of the incident said the stabbing suspect, Iquan Arnum, 22, apparently tried to make a getaway on a party bus.

“As that bus was pulling away, I could see people jumping on to open doors,” Officer Harrison Northup said. He called for backup.

Police eventually stopped the party bus and took Arnum into custody, charging him with disorderly conduct.

The stabbing victim had a collapsed lung, according to police, and had to undergo emergency surgery at Rhode Island Hospital. He is expected to recover.

Police said the fight that led to the stabbing broke out about halfway between the club and the party bus, which was parked down the street, after the club-goers left around 2 a.m. Saturday. The bus driver, Dane Charles, who also owns bus company Island Vibes, told Eyewitness News he picked up the group in New Bedford. He said the contract with the passengers explicitly banned weapons, and said the situation was out of his control. He also said the passengers broke his bus door.

No Decision

The panel did not make a decision Monday about the club’s fate after Van Gogh’s attorney Peter Petrarca argued he couldn’t present a defense because he did not have all the evidence, including police recordings of witness statements.

“If you have them, you should be playing them here,” Petrarca said to the board.

The board continued the hearing until Thursday, when police said they also hope to have surveillance video from the club. Van Gogh will remain closed until that hearing, though the owner told the board he only opens on Fridays and Saturdays.

The board initially issued an emergency 72-hour closing this weekend following Saturday’s brawl.

After Monday’s hearing, Petrarca said the club’s security, which included nine bouncers, did everything right. He said the manager checked the party bus before letting the group in, since he doesn’t usually allow party bus patrons to enter the club.

“It was a slow evening and they decided they were a decent enough crowd to let in,” Petrarca said. “It’s an unfortunate incident, but it has nothing to do with the club.”

The manager’s “spot check” did not find any weapons on the bus, but police later found two knives on board.

The Suspect

The stabbing suspect, Iquan Arnum, 22, appeared in Providence District Court Monday morning on an initial charge of disorderly conduct. Police said other charges are possible, pending the cooperation of the stabbing victim.

iquan arnum van gogh stabbing suspect arraignmentPolice told the judge while no one witnessed the stabbing, the victim’s friend told officers that a man threatened him with a knife during an earlier confrontation. Police said that friend later identified Arnum on the scene.

According to a police report, Arnum had blood on his right hand after being pulled off the party bus.

According to the report, detectives found and seized two knives on the bus. It’s unknown if either of the knives was the one used in the stabbing.

Past Trouble

This is not the lounge’s first run in with the BOL.

Last year, two men were shot and wounded outside the club, according to police. They were able to reopen after paying a fine and a 50-day closure penalty, the city also ordered them to create a stronger security plan.

Back in 2012, when the nightclub was the Monet Lounge, an incident was reported for a fight that had broken out. Things outside the club escalated and glass bottles were thrown, sending two victims to the hospital.

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