COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — An “illegal after-hours” club in south Columbus has been ordered to close following a string of violent and criminal activities in recent months.
A warehouse operating as “The Underground” at 754 Harmon Ave. in south Franklinton has been shut down by the city after multiple reports of break-ins, stolen firearms, loud music, shots fired and parking issues, according to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. The property does not hold a liquor permit.
“This illegal nightclub recklessly endangered the lives of patrons and the public,” Klein said. “That’s why the city moved swiftly to take action and shut it down.”
Authorities said a victim reported a vehicle break-in at the property last month and claimed a handgun was stolen from her car. Officers checking cars in the lot found several cars with guns in plain view, including one with three visible guns.
On Feb. 26, officers responded to the intersection next to the property on a report of several gunshots at the club. When they arrived, there were more than 200 cars and hundreds of people. Later that night, Columbus firefighter entered the site and saw overcrowding and a collapsed wall.
Authorities noted additional fire code violations and determined the property to be unsafe and ordered patrons to leave. After that, a large fight started inside and security officers began pepper spraying the crowd, causing panic.
On March 5, after another crowd was ordered to leave, officers responded to the scene of a double homicide just blocks from the property involving patrons of the club.
“The pattern of violence, criminal activity and disregard for safe operation made it necessary for the city to step in and take action,” said Assistant City Attorney Zach Gwin. “This area of Franklinton is safer now that this club is no longer in operation.”