Long before Memphis rapper Mario Mims, better known to his fans as Yo Gotti, took to the stage at Epic nightclub earlier this month, the Minneapolis police prepared. Known for violent songs that promote drug dealing and shooting people who disagree with him, Mims' concert tour was followed by reports of shootings, stabbings and homicide at numerous locations.
Patrol officers from the First Precinct were outside the warehouse district club that night. Only this time, instead of the violence spilling onto the street, a man armed with a gun shot another concertgoer inside Epic. The shooting took place despite a security staff of 40, seven off-duty police officers inside and metal detecting wands used at the door. Tyrone Washington's death was the first ever shooting inside Epic, said Jon Austin, a spokesperson for Swervo Development Corp. the company that owns the space. Swervo's president is Ned Abdul, one of Epic's owners.
In a letter distributed Thursday to his other tenants, Abdul hinted that acts like Mims will no longer be welcome. "...We believe it is appropriate at this time to limit Epic's ability to host those events which have drawn concerns about violence and other undesirable behavior," the letter stated. The letter added that the club will honor all contractual obligations already made.
As for what acts will be excluded, Austin said those decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
The police official who oversees the MPD's downtown operations, First Precinct Inspector Medaria Arradondo, said the shooting has galvanized concert promoters who want to prevent violent acts from appearing downtown.
"If we were doing it over again, that concert would never have taken place," he said Friday. The shooting remains under investigation, he added. A civil investigation by the city's regulatory and licensing officials is also underway, and could result in sanctions against Abdul and the other owners of Epic.
The full text of the Swervo letter is below: