WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Liquor sales must stop at the Rhino Club after a series of problems were reported by the Wilmington Police Department.
The suspension of the club’s alcohol permits has some neighboring businesses talking and they’ve seen first hand the events that have taken place in downtown. Some say Monday morning’s murder was an unfortunate wake-up call.
“This is the final straw in long series of well documented incidences that has led to this day,” said New Hanover District Attorney Ben David.
It’s the final straw and the last call for the Rhino Club. The state’s ABC Commission say’s local officials have been keeping an eye on the Rhino Club for quite some time.
“If it does get out of hand nobody wants to be anywhere around it and especially when the blue lights starting coming on it’s bad for a lot of the businesses that stay open late and serve food after alcohol hours,” said Matthew Sexton, who works on Market Street.
Some local businesses say it’s hard to keep their eyes off of 125 Market Street on the weekends. The late night chaos is keeping customers from coming through the doors of businesses and its not hard to see why. Market Street is often full of flashing blue lights, bloody fights and crowds and it seems to have become the norm for downtown Wilmington.
“I think that if there’s some violent activity in a place of business then there should definitely be steps taken to avoid that in the future,” said Matthew Redwine, who frequents downtown.
The ABC Board took the final step Wednesday to suspend the Rhino Club’s alcohol permits effective immediately after Taaron Jones was murdered in downtown Wilmington early Monday morning.
WWAY found video on of Jones, who was also known as merk Biiddy in Wilmington, rapping with his friends. A Facebook page was also created in his memory.
ABC felt it necessary to suspend the Rhino Club’s alcohol permits after his death. However, the murder and the suspension is coming as a shock to some former Rhino Club patrons who have fond memories of the club.
“It was a really swank club around 10 years ago,” said Redwine. “It was a big college crowd I went here on my 21st birthday and had a great time.”
Wilmington Police do not have any leads at this time in the murder investigation.