KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 9ine Ultra Lounge, the Kansas City nightclub that closed after a deadly shooting in January, will reopen Saturday night.
The owner is also now speaking publicly for the first time since the shooting that left two people dead, 25-year old Raeven Parks and 29-year-old suspect Jahron Swift.
Club owner Alphonzo Hodge said the temporary closure was out of respect for the grieving families and the more than a dozen people who were injured.
“I had no plans on opening back up until I figured out a plan to where this wouldn’t happen again,” Hodge said.
Hodge, who is a former Chiefs player, said Jan. 19 was a rare night. He opened that Sunday only to celebrate the Chiefs’ AFC Championship win.
Hodge denies claims that some patrons were allowed to enter the club without passing through security.
The number of people attempting to get in were far more than what Hodge said a 300-person capacity club could allow.
“Outside there were a lot of people who were disgruntled because they could not get in, because I was trying to be compliant with our capacity rule. When I feel like the club was at capacity, I close my doors,” Hodge said.
Outside was where the chaos would take over.
The celebration came to an abrupt end when Swift shot into a crowd of people.
Hodge said starting this Saturday when his club reopens, new safety precautions are in place to make sure something like this will never happen again.
“I’ve put up a surveillance system outside, we’ve got metal detectors, we have ID scan database, so now every person that comes in, their ID will be scanned,” Hodge said.
“We’ve got a commissioned security team that will be here that is commissioned through KCPD, that is going to work the inside and out. Ten armed guards on the lot at all times.”
But not everyone is as optimistic about the club’s imminent reopening.
Jim Ready, manager of Regulated Industries Division, said Hodge has a limited time to get signatures and support of eight nearby business and property owners — or the club could still lose its liquor license.
“Even if he gets the consent form, I would still be evaluating it. I may still decide I want to take it before the board for revocation, but that’s something I would evaluate once I have all the information from him and everybody else that I am looking for, and make my determination at that time,” Ready said.
Hodge said on top of getting the signatures, he’s planning to show them his new plan and move forward.
“We are going to do everything within our power to make sure this is a safe environment for people who want to come out and have fun,” Hodge said.
The club is advertising a grand opening party for this upcoming Saturday, titled “Stop the Violence.”
Hodge said the proceeds will go to local anti-violence organizations.