Mac’s Club Will Not Reopen In Wake of Fatal Shooting
WHEELING — The process of having Mac’s Club in Wheeling declared a public nuisance has been set in motion after a fatal shooting took place at the bar this past weekend.
Although Wheeling city officials have begun taking steps to declare a public nuisance at the site, the owner of the establishment has indicated that he has no intention to reopen.
The shooting took place at Mac’s Club in Woodsdale at around 2 a.m. Saturday. Donaven J. White, 24, of Coshocton, was shot and killed, according to Wheeling Police. Police identified the shooting suspect as Darrell Glenn Lesane Jr., 27, of Wheeling, and issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of murder. He still had not been located as of Wednesday night.
In the wake of the shooting, Ward 5 Councilman Ty Thorngate spoke out and vowed to request that the establishment be declared a public nuisance. Thorngate during Tuesday night’s council meeting officially asked City Manager Robert Herron and Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger to take the necessary steps to declare Mac’s Club a public nuisance.
“The people of Woodsdale have had enough,” Thorngate said. “Over the years, every bar owner at 89 Edgington Lane has been given an opportunity to show that they’re going to have a positive impact on the community, and time and time again, ownership lets down the people of Ward 5 and Woodsdale.
“Mac’s Club or The Edge, as it was previously named, has had three shooting incidents over the last four years, and this last incident took an innocent life,” Thorngate said. “I’m going to wake up every day for the rest of my life with regret knowing that I didn’t take action sooner.”
On Wednesday, Don McFarland, owner of Mac’s Club, declined to comment about the situation but did confirm that the liquor license for Mac’s Club has been surrendered, and he had no intention of reopening the club.
The city manager’s office also received a letter this week from the business owner indicating the same.
“The owner has indicated he has surrendered his ABCA (Alcohol Business Control Administration) license and was not going to apply for a business license going forward,” Herron said on Wednesday, noting that applications for business license renewals are due July 1. “The are currently closed.”
Although Mac’s Club is not expected to reopen, action will likely proceed to have a public nuisance declared there. The city manager explained that a public nuisance designation is specific both to a particular address and the business use at that address. In the past, establishments designated as public nuisances have changed ownership, but the designation remained, Herron indicated.
“The police chief has been asked to look at the criminal activity associated with the business through analyzing any record of past drug activity, calls for service, the level of crime and types of crime committed in or around the location,” Herron said. “He then will use his professional opinion to render a judgment, based on his expertise and years of experience as a police chief, to make a recommendation to the city manager’s office.”
Herron said this an other factors are carefully considered before any action is taken to issue a public nuisance declaration. If such a designation is made, the business owner has a right to appeal this decision before city council.
“It is a fair process, and a very serious and carefully considered process,” Herron said.
The city manager noted that since 2003, the city has issued a number of public nuisance designations on bars in the city. Each one had different circumstances, Herron explained, but all revolved around an established pattern of criminal activity in or around each establishment over a certain period of time.
“It’s never just because of one incident,” he said.
Establishments that have been designated a public nuisance in the city of Wheeling include the Coconut Club on Wheeling Island, Bud’s Club in the area of Center Wheeling, the Batting Cage in Warwood and the American Legion Post 89 in East Wheeling. Herron noted that appeals were filed for the Coconut Club and the Batting Cage, but they were denied. The American Legion was successful in its appeal and was able to reopen, the city manager noted, and Bud’s Club was closed following the designation, but eventually was able to reopen under new ownership, with conditions in place.
“Our community mourns for the loss of life, and my thoughts are with the family and friends impacted by the unnecessary act of violence,” Thorngate said. “I’m speaking not only for myself, by for the hundreds of people who called or sent text messages, emails or messages on Facebook over the weekend.”
Thorngate said that from the time the council meeting began to the time he began speaking 45 minutes later, he received three more emails from Ward 5 constituents speaking out about the shooting incident.