The site of a late October shooting has been reopened under a new name, drawing the ire of newly-inaugurated Mayor Toni Harp ARC ’78.
Formerly known as The Key Club Cabaret, the adult entertainment venue located at 133 Hamilton St. resumed operations after a several-months-long hiatus as the New Haven Police Department finished its investigation into the October 26incident that left one, 26-year-old Erica Robinson, dead and five wounded. On November 12, NHPD officers arrested Adrian Bennett for the crime and the club remained close to tighten up security measures in preparation for a potential reopening. The establishment’s liquor license was renewed by the State Department of Consumer Protection, Liquor Division on December 20. Still, Harp had her doubts that it was appropriate for the club to resurface, now named Primo Gentlemen’s Club.
“The plan that is in place does not give me hope that there might not be violence in the future,” Harp said at a Monday press conference also attended by NHPD Chief Dean Esserman. “I’ll tell you that I’m very concerned because the police have responded, over the past quarter, 17 times to that facility for either liquor violations or other violations.”
Harp added that she felt that allowing the club to reopen fails to show sufficient support to the families of Bennett’s six victims. As a result, she said that there are reasons to consider revoking the venue’s liquor license permanently.
On Monday, DCP spokeswoman Claudette Carveth told the New Haven Independent that Department agents would be on hand to monitor the club to ensure that it abides by a security plan that requires the installation of security guards, hiring security guards and conducting background checks on all staff, among other components.
“I think the Mayor speaks for all of us in New Haven that this terrible night of October 26th is hardly forgotten by this community,” Esserman said. “It was the most serious act of violence that we’ve had, and we are grateful that the State’s Attorney worked with the [NHPD] and the Mayor to make information available to the state.”
133 Hamilton St. is located less than one mile from Phelps Gate.