JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a bill that directs the Office of General Counsel and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to investigate by all legal means “public nuisance conditions” that could be associated with Mascaras Gentleman’s Club
City council members Matt Carlucci and Kevin Carrico have put together legislation to declare the club a public nuisance, with Carlucci saying that the declaration would be based on criminal grounds. He says the club has a history of repeated gun violence and it’s continuing to put neighbors in danger.
“When you’ve got shooting going on, stray bullets find ways to hit little targets,” Carlucci said. “I have no patience with that.”
Most recently, three people were shot outside the club as it was emptying during the final weekend in July. One person died at the scene, and two others were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
A man who spoke to News4Jax under the condition of anonymity says moments before those shots were fired, he walked out of his home to check on noise he said was coming from the club. From there, he saw the shooting unfold.
“All of a sudden, gunfire just breaks out like crazy,” the man said. “A guy starts running down Patton Road and he’s shooting behind him as he was running. And my neighbor down the street actually found his gun in their front yard.”
Neighbors told News4jax the gun was collected by police for evidence. Carlucci says he receives complaints from constituents about the club nearly every day. Those concerns include loud noise, parking, and the garbage being left behind just across from where families live.
“I went to a couple of their town meetings and the people let me know in short order, they expect something to get done,” Carlucci said. “I said I’d do my darndest.”
Nine years ago, a 29-year-old man was shot and killed inside the club. The following year, a 21-year-old man was shot and killed. Back then, police say they responded to the club eight times between 2010 and 2013 to investigate gunfire.
News4Jax made repeated attempts to speak with the club’s owner ahead of Tuesday’s meeting but was unsuccessful. Amy Schultz said she’s a manager there.
“I have been there for four years and haven’t come across any instances that would be a nuisance or criminal activity that is going on,” Schultz told News4Jax.
When news of the plan to shut down was first revealed in early August, the owner told News4jax reporter Erik Avanier he was surprised about the plan. He went on to tell Avanier the recent shooting had nothing to do with his business.