March 20, 2017 10:39:17 AM
Isabelle Altman - [email protected]
City officials are planning measures to make downtown safer after a shooting near the Princess Theater nightclub early Sunday morning.
Columbus police responded to the scene at about 1 a.m., where gunshots stuck five vehicles parked downtown. Two of those vehicles were occupied when the shots were fired, but no one was injured.
Investigators are still looking for a suspect, an no one has been arrested, City Public Information Officer Joe Dillon said. While police are still trying to determine exactly where the shots were fired, Dillon said officers found shell casings on Fifth Street in front of the nightclub.
Mayor Robert Smith on Sunday night announced plans to meet with law enforcement, as well as legal and public safety officials, to determine what steps the city can take to curtail violence he believes the Princess has spurred.
"Since the Princess Theater reopened as a club, it has become a gathering place that has attracted trouble with increased regularity to the downtown area," Smith said. "This will stop."
He announced CPD will send more patrols downtown and city officials will work with Columbus Light and Water and Main Street Columbus to ensure the area has adequate lighting and security cameras. Dillon said the mayor has already planned a public safety meeting this morning with officials from CPD, Columbus Fire and Rescue and the Building Inspection Department.
"Our downtown area continues to grow with developers improving buildings and apartments to attract even more growth. We will not let the actions of a few deter our city and this work," Smith said.
Originally a theater built in the 1920s, the Princess reopened as a club in 2011. On Feb. 8, 2016, it closed down briefly after a shooting outside the club sent one man to the hospital. It was open again by the next weekend.
Police arrested Quinton Deangelo Harris, 25, of 300 Swedenburg Road, for the 2016 shooting and charged him with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Harris is scheduled to go to trial in Lowndes County Circuit Court on May 9.
The Dispatch could not reach Princess owner Bart Lawrence for comment by press time.