Rocky Mount Nightclub Closed After ALE Investigation


ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- A shooting in a Rocky Mount nightclub left two females seriously injured, a suspect on the run, and a bar without ABC permits.

ALE special agents were contacted by the Rocky Mount Police Department after officers responded to a shooting at Studio 169 Lounge, located at 169 S Wesleyan Boulevard, late Saturday night. The shooting began in the VIP area of the nightclub after an altercation between female patrons. One patron was struck by gunfire and another was injured while crawling through broken glass in an attempt to escape the shooter.

The shooter fled prior to officers' arrival and remains at large.

Although Studio 169 Lounge had been open less than a year, this was not the first time law enforcement had been called to the club. In September of 2018, a fight inside led to a shooting in the parking lot.

Through the course of the investigation, ALE special agents found the club owner, Donald Richardson, 62, of Rocky Mount had only a handful of security officers for a crowd of over 300 patrons Saturday night. After multiple injuries and two shootings, Richardson admitted he did not want to be responsible for a third. Yesterday, Richardson voluntarily surrendered his ABC permits to ALE.

“ALE special agents work towards public safety everywhere alcohol is sold” said Bryan House Acting Head of Alcohol Law Enforcement. “When the continued risk of crime and violence is present at a location, the ongoing sales of alcoholic beverages can greatly increase the danger. We hope this action provides a permanent solution.”

The shooting investigation is ongoing with the Rocky Mount Police Department as they seek to locate and apprehend the shooter. 

"I would like to take the opportunity to thank the NC Alcohol Law Enforcement for their close working relationship with the Rocky Mount Police Department” said Interim Chief of Police George Robinson, of the Rocky Mount Police Department. “The results in this recent case are an excellent example of the hard work by the local NC ALE special agent and our Department's Bars, Taverns, and Night Clubs Liaison in reducing violent crime at our area nightclubs."  

About ALE:

ALE’s 109 specially trained agents have the authority to arrest and take investigatory action for any criminal offense. Their primary responsibility is the enforcement of Alcoholic Beverage Control laws and state lottery laws. ALE is a branch of the State Bureau of Investigation.