Three area bars face year-long bans as the county's top prosecutor described them as “nuisances” with frequent police calls and tragic incidents.
Fifteenth Judicial Solicitor Jimmy Richardson asked a judge for a court order to close Klocker’s, Remedies and Audry’s Lounge.
Bar owners — Jason Klocker for Remedies , Klocker and Scott Ordway for Klocker’s and Okera Hakam Uzoma and Audry Demetria Uzoma for Audry’s Lounge — were named in the requests.
Remedies and Klocker’s share a parking lot and are located off U.S. Highway 17 Bypass. Audry’s Lounge is located out of a shed in Longs.
In court documents filed this week, Richardson noted several examples of problems at the bars. Starting in May 2015, there have been numerous reports of fights, assaults, disorderly conduct and public intoxication in the parking lot, the filing contends.
In November 2016, a suspect hit Corey Chestnut in the back of a head in the parking lot outside Klocker's and Remedies and the gun went off. Nobody was shot in that incident. In April, John Fox was shot four times during a fight in the same parking lot.
At Audry’s, two people died from separate shootings at the bar. In July 2015, Ickel T. Stanley died of a gunshot wound after getting into a fight at the bar.
In March, Larry Wilson Jr. died after being shot three times at the bar. In the filing, Richardson states that surveillance video shows Okera Uzoma moving liquor bottles out of the bar and taking an assault rifle and handgun to his home next door.
Okera and Audry Uzoma have faced criminal charges, including operating a business without a license. But, those have had no effect in the Lounge’s operation, the suit contends.
In each case, Richardson asked a judge to close the businesses for a year — a timetable included in state code.
Richardson said the request comes after numerous calls and complaints about the establishments. He added that local police presented the cases to him to shut down the three bars.
"I don't want to be messing with any and every bar people have a complaint about," Richardson said.
This is the first time the solicitor's office has filed against the three bars and Richardson said he imagines there will be discussions to resolve the cases.
Most bars are doing what they should, though Richardson said they could do better in some areas of regulation.
"Ninety-nine percent if not better of the bars or businesses are trying to do right," Richardson said.
Audry Uzoma did not immediately respond in time for this report. Klocker declined comment.
The news comes as the S.C. Law Enforcement Division has an open "alcohol-related incident" investigation involving Remedies, spokesman Thom Berry said earlier this month.
On March 14, a 20-year-old man was found dead in a ditch outside of Remedies Bar and Grill. The Sun News has requested the cause of death from the Horry County Coroner's Office.
A month later, Fox was shot four times in the Remedies parking lot. He remains in the hospital with more than $900,000 in medical bills.
Bars in Horry County must stop pouring liquor at 2 a.m.
"If they don't, the licensee, bartender, as well as patrons in possession of liquor after 2 a.m. can be cited or issued a violation," Berry said.
Remedies and Klockers have been issued alcohol violations in the past, Berry confirmed. Klockers most recently has had two violations for liquor sales during restricted hours — one from 2016 that is closed and another from 2017 that is still pending. Remedies still has a pending violation for sale of liquor during restricted hours from last year, Berry said.
The Sun News has sent Freedom of Information Act requests to Horry County Police Department in reference to police reports filed at Remedies and Klockers, and a separate request to the S.C. Department of Revenue regarding alcohol violations.