Shockoe Bottom restaurant’s alcohol licenses revoked after still-unsolved deadly Christmas Day shooting

Shockoe Bottom restaurant’s beverage licenses revoked after still-unsolved deadly Christmas Day shooting

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A judge has revoked the beer/wine and mixed beverage licenses for a Shockoe Bottom restaurant where a man was killed in a quadruple shooting on Christmas Day.

The Wing Bar’s license was temporarily suspended two days after the deadly shooting. Its owner, Raysean Edwards, petitioned Virginia ABC Authority for a temporary restricted license saying it was hurting business and could cost jobs if he were forced to close.

According to court documents, Edwards testified at a restriction hearing Dec. 31 claiming the shootings “were not the fault of the business.”

Richmond Police responded just before 1 a.m. on Dec. 25 to the Wing Bar E. Main Street where they found Kenneth Lawson inside the business, suffering from a single gunshot wound to his back. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Three other people, two women and one man, who was working as a security guard at the restaurant, were injured in the shooting, according to court documents.

The man and a woman are still in the hospital fighting for their lives; the third survivor was released from the hospital shortly after she showed up there with her injury.

At the restricted license hearing it was determined “there existed a continuing threat to public safety” and the request was denied.

On Jan. 13, Virginia ABC Authority held its hearing on the overall investigation. There, special agents with Virginia ABC and Richmond Police detectives testified regarding a number of complaints made against the business.

Court documents reveal more details about the events leading up to the deadly shooting.

On Dec. 30 ABC special agents interviewed two women who had been at the bar the night of the shooting.

“They both estimated that approximately 100 people were inside the establishment on this occasion and informed the agents that it was so crowded that people were standing on upholstered benches because of the lack of space,” court documents stated.

During the investigation, agents determined the occupancy limit of 30 people for the space, however employees estimated more than 50 people were actually inside the bar the night of the shooting.

"We know they were there and we need some people to come forward,” said RPD Major Crimes Lieutenant Faith Flippo on Jan. 3. “This is something that is just imperative. This was Christmas morning, four families are dealing with all of this and nobody has taken the time to really give us some substantial information."

Court documents also stated “no one in the establishment had called the police on the night of the incident.”

As for surveillance, crime scene investigators were able to collect some evidence connected to the shooting, but the one camera inside the business was offline at the time of the incident.

Video footage was collected from a nearby business which shows, “people milling around in front of Wing Bar prior to the incident.”

“A large individual, later identified as [the male security guard victim] is seen standing close to the curb and then falling back onto the ground,” documents stated.

Richmond Police also obtained video from a GRTC bus that was traveling eastbound on E. Main Street before the shooting.

“A single gunshot can be heard on the video and then glints of light flash as the front door of Wing Bar opens and closes,” documents stated. “Four additional shots were heard as [the security guard victim] is seen falling to the ground directly in front of Wing Bar.”

Several other complaints were filed against the business as part of the ABC investigation.

On Thursday, 10 days after the hearing, a judge ruled to revoke all beverage licenses at the Wing Bar.

Edwards called the decision unfair. He has until Feb. 3 to appeal the ruling and is currently weighing his options.

While there are three survivors in this case, detectives said they’d rather have a ton of information as opposed to none at all.

"I don’t want people thinking just because we have three surviving victims and one that’s deceased that we’re going to have all this information; We’re not,” Flippo added. “…It was a chaotic scene. We need to sort out exactly what happened - before, during, and after the shooting. People who were there at the time need to speak to our detectives and not just to reporters.”

Police are reminding witnesses that they can remain anonymous by submitting tips through Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips smartphone app may also be used.

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