Petition created to shut down Level Nightclub

Petition created to shut down Level Nightclub

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Following a double murder at Level Nightclub, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has suspended Level's liquor license. Level Nightclub is in the Depot District, but business owners in the neighborhood said it's not the area that's the problem. 

"So do you think the business should be shut down?" reporter Meredith Aldis said.

"Yes, I do," Larry Simmons Tornado Gallery owner said.

So do many others. An online petition pushes for shutting down Level Nightclub and almost 250 people have signed it. Eloisa Villarreal quit going to the club and now advocates for its closing.

"It's always rowdy and there's always something chaotic that's going on there," petition signer Eloisa Villarreal said.

Simmons said the problem with Level is lousy operators. 

"These guys do not care about their customers because they do not care about their business. That's the biggest issue they've got... its a dollar and that's it," Simmons said.

Terry Akin, who's been part of the music industry in Lubbock for more than 38 years agrees.

"There's been a whole bunch of incidents down there that happened at this club and one other one that's ran by the same guy," Akin said. 

Other businesses in the Depot operate differently, Akin said, suggesting a lack of oversight at level.

"Club owners and the management directly control the crowd, who comes there, and how they act," Akin said.

Because of one bad apple, Akin and Simmons said there's a bad light on the Depot District. 

"Those businesses down there feel the effects of this every time this happens," Akin said.

"It's an unfair perception of the entire neighborhood as being troublesome," Simmons said. 

According to the T.A.B.C., Level Nightclub has had two written violations since it originally opened under its current permit from 2017. The first was a Breach of Peace in December 2018 for assault. The second was a case of Cash Law Violations related to payments of suppliers in January 2018.

"Where are the T.A.B.C.?" Simmons said.

T.A.B.C. Public Information Officer Chris Porter said since 2017, there have been 32 investigations into Level Nightclub both undercover and open. With requests made by citizens and Lubbock P.D., T.A.B.C. has looked into eight different instances of Breaches of the Peace. 

Looking back at the call sheet from Lubbock P.D. from the past six months, 35 calls have been made with incidents of black-outs, domestic disputes, civil disturbances, and fights with guns.

"The fact that they do not respect the laws that concern alcohol service, is the biggest problem that goes on," Simmons said.

"When you have kids that are too young to drink and they're not necessarily able to make responsible decisions when they're inebriated, that's when incidents like this happen," Akin said.

As for a solution, Simmons said the T.A.B.C. should be looking at the management and need to go after addresses of places that are nuisances. That way the property owners can be held responsible.

"Until you go after the building and address that causes the trouble, you're always going to have bad operators in it," Simmons said.

With art galleries, retail shops, the farmer's market, wineries and museum, both Simmons and Akin said you shouldn't be scared to go down to the depot district.

"It's not the wild west down here," Simmons said.

We reached out to Derrick Jackson, the operator of Level Nightclub for comment. He has not responded. Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call Detective Price, 806-548-4111, or Detective Roberts, 806-548-1664.

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