Club Soraya owner rethinks policy after brawl

Devin Kelly

The owner of Club Soraya said Friday he is temporarily suspending entertainment at his club after a shooting in a nearby parking lot injured three people last week.

"Effective immediately, the club will temporarily suspend all entertainment activities in this facility until further notice," Hector Ortiz said in a statement provided to the Daily News.

Last weekend, Southern rap artist Pastor Troy performed at the club along with several other opening acts. Around 2:15 a.m. on Saturday, as the event was wrapping up, a disturbance broke out between two men, police and witnesses said. Security staff turned on the lights and told everyone to leave the club.

During a fight that spilled out into the Sunshine Mall parking lot, shots were fired. The bullets struck three people, including a 22-year-old woman who was hospitalized in critical condition.

In the statement, Ortiz said he and the owners of 4th Avenue Market Place and the Sunshine Plaza plan to consult with law enforcement and downtown groups to study ways to make the parking lot safer. "They will be exploring the types of future activities that will be allowed so as not to draw the type of clientele that can cause these problems in the adjacent property," the statement said.

Ortiz also said he wants to create a list of criteria for the types of events that can take place at the club to "minimize incidents" like Saturday's shooting.

The statement included a defense of the club's security measures: "The club was well-secured to prevent a shooting incident inside the club," citing the use of "heavy security, metal detectors and observers."

In a follow-up interview, Ortiz described the pause in entertainment as a "cooling-off" period to rethink his club's operations.

He also said he wants to eventually see increased police enforcement activity at bar break -- closing time.