Des Moines restaurant with 3 shootings in 5 months to surrender its liquor license
A man in his 30s suffered a minor injury Wednesday during a shooting in front of a troubled bar on the north side of Des Moines, police said. Des Moines Register
A Des Moines bar that reported three shootings on its property in five months has decided to voluntarily surrender its liquor license, the owner said.
Donald Celander, the owner of Triple Double, said he plans to give up the liquor license Monday after the City Council recommended revoking it from the restaurant, something members requested following the shootings.
Officers have also responded to more than 40 complaints of loud music, drugs, suspicious activity and shots fired at the bar at 910 Hull Ave. in the city's Highland Park neighborhood since July.
Celander decided to relinquish the license because he wants to continue operating his restaurant and hopes if he opens another establishment elsewhere in the future, he can get approval for a liquor license there.
Since the last shooting earlier this month, Celander described his business as taking a "nose-dive." He has also received threatening messages from neighbors, one of whom told him to leave the area and another who asked him how he would like it if his daughter went to a school near a bar where shootings occurred.
"I surrendered to the neighborhood, pretty much," said Celander, whose bar is a block from Cattell Elementary School. "I'm done trying to show them I'm not the bad guy."
In March, the City Council passed a resolution directing the police department to investigate calls for a possible emergency suspension of Triple Double's liquor license. City officials also requested an audit of its records to determine if it was meeting the 50 percent food sales requirement to operate as a restaurant.
Council members have expressed frustration and concern about the restaurant. In a video posted by WHO-TV, City Councilman Chris Coleman remarked: “I hate that this is an establishment that's licensed by the city of Des Moines, the seven of us, and they continue to operate because they have a license from us.”
During its Monday meeting, the City Council imposed a $500 penalty to five businesses for violation of alcoholic beverage laws that included Triple Double.
3 shootings in 5 months
In the most recent shooting April 4, Celander's brother was grazed with a bullet or glass that shattered when three bullets pierced through the front door window.
About 15 minutes before the shooting, several men who had previously been kicked out of the restaurant came inside. They had been involved in a shooting at the bar weeks earlier, Celander said at the time, so his staff called the police. Then the men returned with a gun, firing three rounds aimed at his brother, he said.
“All of this was retaliation because we called the police,” he said.
His brother declined medical treatment for the minor injury, police said.
Two men, Des Moines residents Remy Ramone Perry, 26, and Devonce Armstrong, 24, were charged in the shooting with willful injury causing bodily injury, intimidation with a weapon and carrying weapons, police said.
In mid-March, two people — ages 23 and 25 — were driven by a private vehicle to a local hospital after they were shot near the restaurant. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said at the time.
In that case, officers recovered several shell casings and two handguns at the scene. The bar and a nearby home were struck by gunfire.
Before that shooting, a woman was shot in the upper leg in a brawl at the bar in December, authorities said. Officers found the woman inside the bar; she was uncooperative in the investigation, officers said in a police report.
While being assaulted by multiple men that morning, the bar’s bouncer fired his gun once into the air in what he told police was an attempt to break up the fight. Police confiscated the bouncer’s gun at the scene.
The bouncer said he saw an unknown number of shots fired from a light-colored sedan leaving the area, authorities said.
Wearing a red Triple Double shirt outside the bar after the shooting in early April, Celander said his main concern remains the safety of his customers. Despite recent shootings at the business, he said the restaurant plans to remain open and his staff will continue to call the police when disturbances occur.
“You’re not going to eat here and get shot,” the 29-year-old owner told the Des Moines Register at the time. “We’re going to keep calling the cops, so you can shoot at us all you want. They’re going to keep coming, and we’re going to keep pressing charges until everyone is OK and safe.”
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