An Indianapolis police officer was shot and wounded in downtown Indianapolis early Sunday morning.Police have responded to calls at this club 50 times in the last year, and this isn't the first shooting. One occurred last year. There was also someone shot and killed in the parking lot of the club (then known as the Vault) a couple of years ago. In 2006, three people were shot and killed after leaving the club. One has to wonder why this club continues to have its alcohol license renewed with all of crime problems that have arisen there, particularly since it is located in the heart of downtown and just a block from the City-County Building where IMPD is headquartered. One also has to wonder why IMPD would allow its officers to work off duty for club owners who operate an establishment that repeatedly is the source of criminal activity.
The wounded officer is 39-year-old Kerry Morse. Officer Morse is assigned to East District and is a 4 1/2 year veteran. He worked for the Crime Lab before becoming a sworn officer.
Medics responded to a report of an officer shot in the 100 block of North Delaware. Officer Morse was taken to Wishard Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon.
Police say the officer was working off duty at the Club Level nightclub at 120 East Market Street when he was called to break up a fight outside.
"Two groups of people were in a fight, shots were fired, our officer received a gunshot wound to the shoulder," said IMPD Sgt. Paul Thompson.
Police say Officer Morse was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but the bullet missed the vest and struck him in the shoulder.
Officers from the department, including Chief Paul Ciesielski, showed up downtown when they heard what happened. They helped detain the handful of people involved in the fight and witnesses, hoping to find the gunman.
"There were people inside the club prior to the event, in close proximity. We have reason to believe some of the people ejected from the club may have been involved," said Sgt. Thompson.
While police wouldn't say for sure whether the problems inside the club led to the shooting outside, they say they've been called to the club about 50 times in the last year. One of those incidents had a very similar outcome. Almost exactly a year ago, a fight ended in gunfire, with a victim shot in the head on Delaware Street.
Police are questioning several witnesses. So far, no arrests have been made in the shooting and no suspect description has been released.
According to a Fox59 News report this morning, the club's owner says it employs four off-duty police officers and pats down people for weapons before they enter the club. The club's owner also disputed the number of police runs to the club documented by the police, claiming not all of those runs were responding to problems inside the club.
UPDATE: We may not have to wait too long for action. It looks like Club Level's liquor license is up for renewal next week and Det. Bill Carter, IMPD Nuisance Abatement Officer, indicates there will be testimony in opposition to the renewal of the liquor license according to WRTV. On another note, a reader asks me if it isn't the case that one of the owners of the controversial 300 East restaurant/bar in the Julia Carson Government Center and former owner of another controversial club on the City's far northside, Savoy, that was closed is an owner of this club. Anyone have any ideas on that?