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Lounge 2six9 on Central Avenue seeing increase in violence

Local News

Central Avenue in Rochester is known as a thriving business community, at least from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

But, when the sun goes down, the street lights up. Now, nighttime violence is tormenting a Rochester neighborhood which has been trying to turn itself around. 

Many people who live and work there are saying one business is to blame. 

“I think it’s good, Rochester is becoming more vibrant,” says Jim Liebel, with Finger Lakes Woodworking. “Eddie took a shot with an old building and fixed it up. He’s trying to create some nightlife here.”

Too much nightlife has caused problems for Lounge 2six9 and it’s owner. 

Video from October shows two women brawling outside of Lounge 2six9, bringing traffic to a standstill. As a result, Rochester Police slapped the bar with six points for disorderly patrons, under the Nuisance Abatement Point System. 

If a bar receives twelve points in six months, or 18 points in a year, the Rochester Police Department can seek to close the business. 

“Most of the things we assess points for are six point violations,” says Lt. Cheryl Fridley with the Rochester Police Department. “Basically guns, drugs, violence disorderly premise- which usually happens with businesses.”

Since the police have been monitoring this location, they have received 39 calls. No additional points were assessed. 

Ken Smith owns a nearby business, Smith & Associates Architects. He predicted two months ago what was going to happen next. 

“It’s a matter of time before someone gets stabbed or shot,” said Smith. 

Early in the morning, following Easter Sunday, police cars swarmed the north side of Rochester- where Melvin White, Jr. had been murdered on Central Avenue. 

Security video shows White leaving Lounge 2six9. Within minutes, three people approached his vehicle and shot him several times. 

“People are investing in this piece of the city,” said Smith. “Urban League is on one end, we are on the other. There was a murder in between. Not preferred.  “

The Urban League of Rochester has been operating at this corner for over 20 years, right down the street from Lounge 2six9. The night White was murdered, hours later students were coming there to leave for the Urban League’s annual college tour. 

“We are not against the business,” said William Clark, who is the President of the Urban League. “What we are against is anything that really takes away from safety and the atmosphere we are trying to build here.”

News 8 did reach out to Lounge 2six9, but they did not want to comment on these recent events. 

Liebel says violence is a community issue.  

“I think we should pull together, as neighbors, and figure out how we stop that from happening,” he said. “It’s not the nightlife, or that people are having fun. “It’s that somebody shot somebody. That shouldn’t be acceptable to anybody.” 

In a way, Central Avenue represents much of Rochester- as it tries to raise itself up by day, and calm things down at night.

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