WSAZ Investigates L Huntington bar owner talks fatal shooting, string of violence | Media Pyro


Huntington, W.Va. (WSAES) – A restaurant employee was shot and killed after an argument started inside a nearby bar in the 1500 block of 4th Avenue in Huntington.

The victim, Joseph Bryan, died Sunday after police said he was shot at the Premier Pub and Grill, the scene of three shootings this year.

Premier Pub and Grill owner Ronnie Davis was at the bar when the shooting happened. He describes what he saw.

It was the end of the night. The lights came on. We were actually running people out of the building and I saw an argument over my shoulder. One of the shooters hit one of his friends and knocked him to the ground. As soon as we saw this, we kicked all three out of the club. The problem moved from there to the pavement. We tried to tone it down and get everybody home and they weren’t having it, you know. They continued to make a scene here for the next five minutes and then they threatened the business and I got all my customers and all the staff back into the building safely. I quickly go back to the door to lock it and that’s when the guy opened fire on the business. Unfortunately, an innocent restaurant worker next door was hit in the process.

Joseph Bryan, a restaurant employee, was rushed to hospital but died on Sunday. He was only 28 years old and had only worked at DP Dove for a few days before he was shot dead.

Police arrested Christopher Brown on Friday. He faces multiple charges and getaway driver Gavin Bailey has also been arrested.

This is not the first shooting outside the Premier Pub and Grill this year.

“Three this year, is that a lot?” WSAZ reporter Kim Rafferty said.

“That’s it,” Davis said.

“What do you think or say about that?” Rafferty asked.

“You know, we’re slightly responsible for everything that happens off-premises,” Davis said.

On March 20, the first shooting occurred, police said, when two people were shot following an argument inside a bar.

Within a week, two more men were shot while waiting to get inside the bar.

After the second shooting, the West Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration (ABCA) temporarily suspended the bar’s liquor license.

ABCA gave the bar permission to reopen in April, but Davis said he is waiting until September to return to business.

WSAZ reached out to Davis after the second shooting in March, but he did not respond to our request.

Davis spoke with WSAZ after the latest shooting on Friday.

WSAZ asked Davis about a set of rules posted on the bar’s door in March, since those rules were removed.

“We know you all put up a sign saying no to this, whatever that color is. Why was it high then and why is it low now? ” asked Rafferty.

“That’s pretty common for bars in downtown Huntington. We’ve had some people come in all dressed the same, and we know what that’s like.

“Why was it removed?” Rafferty asked.

“We are trying to give freedom to the people. You know, I think it’s a much bigger issue than what our customers wear or what music we play or the atmosphere of the club, you know, I mean,” Davis said.

ABCA has again suspended the license of liquor shops for a ‘cooling off period’ of ten days.

“We want to keep everyone safe. That’s obviously the No. 1 goal, but we have a vision for this business and we’re not going to give it up because the streets aren’t regulated properly,” Davis said. “Give it two weeks and let the families mourn what happened, you know. We have a vision, we want Marshall students to have a place to go out and have a good time, but they don’t have to worry about it.

Marshall University tells WSAZ that suspected shooter Christopher Brown and accused driver Gavin Bailey are not Marshall students.

WSAZ spoke with Huntington Mayor Steve Williams about the bar and the violence.

Davis said closing the bar won’t solve the problem.

“I want people to understand that this is a much bigger problem than this club. You close it. Another one is going to pop up three blocks down the road and the same thing is going to happen,” Davis said. “This is a city problem, a national problem. We need to find a way to end this gun violence. “

ABCA suspended the bar’s liquor license in March, requiring the owner to submit an improvement and safety plan before the suspension can be lifted.

Since the shooting Friday, WSAZ has asked ABCA for a copy of the plan, but we have not received it.

In the latest suspension order, ABCA is again asking for another safety plan to be submitted. WSAZ will request a copy of that plan.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest.


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