Nightclub drawing ire of neighbors

Neighbors are up in arms about rowdy behavior in a club near North Beach that erupted in violence and gunfire nearly two weeks ago.

The incident occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 15, when security officers at Suede, a nightclub at 383 Bay St., were overwhelmed by an unruly crowd of partygoers eager to see an anticipated hip-hop act, according to police officers from Central station.

The scene turned unmanageable when the performer, Atlanta-based rapper Young Jeezy, was spotted entering the club sometime after midnight, according to Hanson Wong, one of the managing partners at Suede.

As the crowd grew with excitement from Jeezy’s appearance, patrons waiting in line began to ignore orders for calm from security officers and attempted to rush into the club, Wong said. The club eventually turned on the lights and ordered everyone out of the club, but mayhem continued on the city streets.

The crowd ignored several requests by responding police officers to disperse, and, after various scuffles, gunfire was heard at approximately 1 a.m. The shots, believed to be fired from a .45 caliber automatic pistol, were aimed indiscriminately at several cars parked at a nearby lot on Francisco Street, police said. No arrests have been made so far in the incident, police said.

An officer from Central station, who declined to be named, said the club had hosted loud events before, but gunfire and violence was unusual in the area, which lies between North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf, several blocks from a more heavily attended glut of bars on Broadway Street.

“It’s one thing to have people drunk and hollering,” the officer said. “It’s another thing to have people loading off guns. The neighbors think it’s unacceptable.”

North Beach residents and police officials met with the club’s owners at a meeting of The City's Entertainment Commission on Tuesday night, and a community meeting Thursday at Central Station.

Wong said the club is eager to assure the community that scenes like the one two weeks ago will not be repeated.

“We want to do whatever we can to make sure the neighbors don’t feel we’re a threat to this community,” said Wong.  “It’s important to get a dialogue going to find out what people’s concerns are, and what we can do to fix those.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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