Suspension vexes nightclub owner after shooting

In the 12 years Vilma Patel has owned the El Rincon night club in the Mission she hasn’t had a police-involved incident. That was until Saturday morning, when a police officer was shot and Patel’s operating license was suspended.

Around 1:30 a.m., as partygoers were clearing out of the club after a night of revelry, a fight broke out between a group of women.

According to the San Francisco Police Department, a veteran police officer and two training officers were making rounds near the 16th and Harrison location and responded.

During the argument, as many as six shots rang out. The veteran police officer, who wasn’t identified by police, was hit in the foot and taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Though no other people were hit by the gunfire, Patel’s operating license will be suspended for an unknown amount of time as a result of the incident.

“Why me?” Patel asked Saturday during a phone interview with The Examiner. “We were all inside cleaning.”

Patel said she and her crew were inside when the incident occurred. She said the doors were closed and she was not aware of the scuffle going on outside until her security personnel contacted her.

Patel said the performer is a well-known DJ, whom she was hesitant to rent to because of the “bad attitude” that often accompanied these parties.

She said she has no plans to rent the space to the DJ again.“This was the first time we rented to him,” she said. “He gave us a guarantee nothing was going to happen.”

El Rincon’s website does not list the performer from Friday night. The venue is described as a destination for Cuban and Mexican cuisine with a full bar and weekly live music and dancing.

Latin performer Xavier was scheduled to appear at the club Saturday, but the suspension of operation requested by the police department went into effect immediately.

The injured officer has been with the department roughly six years, San Francisco police Lt. Lyn Tomioka said. He was expected to have surgery on his foot Saturday and was expected to survive.

“Non-life threatening,” she said of the officer’s broken foot. “But still pretty severe.”

The investigation continues, Tomioka said.

No suspects are in custody, but two men were detained for questioning. A dark green Chevrolet Camaro, though, was seen leaving the nightclub. Moments later, a vehicle matching the description was stopped five blocks away at Potrero and 17th streets.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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