A melee erupted outside The Tralfamadore Music Hall in Buffalo, N.Y., after a crowd formed to see a rap show at the club May 21st. One person was stabbed and a police officer was injured.
About an hour after the show and a half-mile away from the club, a man was shot and killed in his car, but police do not believe it was related.
The violence began after midnight in the city’s Chippewa entertainment district after a huge crowd lined up at the 450-capacity club to see
“There were probably about 1,000 to 1,500 people waiting to get into the club that couldn’t get in,” Tralf owner Rohit Kapoor said. When they were told they would not get in, some patrons rushed the doors, which were immediately locked, Kapoor said. Police were then called to break up several fights.
A police officer was hit in the back of the head by one of the participants while trying to break up a fight. She was treated at a hospital. The officer’s alleged attacker was arrested and soon began complaining about a pain in his side. Officers discovered he was stabbed and left with a non-life-threatening wound.
About an hour later, Lamar Williams, 21, was shot in the face as he was stopped in traffic in his minivan.
“His passenger said they were just out cruising the streets and they were not at the Tralf or any other venues that night,” Homicide Detective Sgt. Daniel Rinaldo said. “Williams recognized someone on the street, made reference of that person to his passenger and then that person on the street walked up to the minivan and shoots the driver.”
Police Chief Donna Berry met with about 15 downtown bar owners a few weeks back to discuss escalating violence in the area, according to The Buffalo News. Some predicted there would be a murder in the Chippewa District unless there was a larger police presence.
Mayor Byron Brown reportedly said he is asking the State Liquor Authority to launch an “aggressive investigation” of the Tralf and another downtown club, The Groove. He also warned bar owners and rowdy patrons that bad behavior would not be tolerated.
“If people want to come to different parts of the city of Buffalo and act like they’re in the Wild, Wild West, we’ll lock them up like they’re in the Wild, Wild West,” he said.
The Chippewa District is the focus of several police concerns, according to the News, including parking lot parties, underage youths preying on drunken patrons and bars that do not provide sufficient security for large crowds.
Kapoor told the paper that Jim Jones’ popularity was at fault. The line went down the stairs from the club, through a lobby and out into the street. There were 350 people inside when it was announced that not all would get tickets, he said.
Kapoor said he had 24 security officers, security checkpoints and a security plan in place. He also told the News the club may have to make tickets available only by presale to discourage crowds.
The Tralf had some difficulties last year with financial issues, including some unpaid retainers. One agent recently told Pollstar he is still pursuing his client’s guarantee.
The club owner could not be reached at press time.