Sports and Spirits neighbors react to shooting, closure

A full drink remains on a table at Sports and Spirits on Tuesday September 13, 2016. Hours before three people were shot dead at the bar.
A full drink remains on a table at Sports and Spirits on Tuesday September 13, 2016. Hours before three people were shot dead at the bar.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) –  The doors are locked at Sports and Spirits but when you peek in the window cups litter the floor and tables. Police described the bar as packed when the shooting broke out.

“They started pulling bodies out this morning,” East Central neighbor Becca Montgomery said.

For two years Montgomery has seen things that scare her and just make her angry in her neighborhood. She said they all come from the bar two doors down- Sports and Spirits. She knows the troubles were the same before she even moved to the East Central Neighborhood.

“I used to have a friend that lived in this house before we moved in and they had the same issue,” Montgomery said. “They actually watched someone die right on the street from a shooting from the bar.”

The bar was locked up and no one was allowed to go in Tuesday. Half filled cups and beer bottles littered the bar and outside the day after the shooting that killed three people- a night out abruptly stopped.

Tuesday afternoon NewsChannel 15 learned the bar would be locked up for good.

“I’m so glad to hear the news they are closing them down for good,” Bishop Jerry Carter from the Church of God said.

Bishop Carter’s church is just down the block from Sport and Spirits. He said he’s worked for several years to get it shut down including testifying in front of a state board.

“We were part of a group of people who went down and testified against it,” Carter said. “Of course they have all the history of the crime and trouble there. So, they moved an injunction against them. I don’t think it was hard enough. It didn’t go far enough.”

Carter never wanted to see it get to where it did for a closure to happen.

“I just wish someone would’ve taken notice,” Carter said. “This should’ve happened years ago.”

However, East Central Neighborhood Association member Welton Dufor said he didn’t necessarily want to see the business close. He said it’s more about the culture of young people than a problem with a business.

“We got to start working with our kids,” Dufor said. “The people who are doing this they put a value of, they place value on, taking someone else’s life.”

A woman stopped by the bar late Tuesday morning to try to get her phone and wallet inside. NewChannel 15 asked her for an on camera interview, but she declined. She said the shooter came in, started shooting, then ran out. When referring to choosing to come to Sports and Spirits Monday night she said “I never should have come.”

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