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Club carnage puts cops on edge

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Two shootings near Flatlands nightclubs -- one of which occurred just paces away from a crew of police officers -- took place within 45 minutes of each other last weekend, police said.

Yet, while the shootings, which were not related, were linked in some way to the clubs, cops from the 63rd Precinct are reportedly satisfied that the owners are during everything they can to curb violence at their businesses.

“We’re happy with the security that they have,” explained Deputy Inspector Frank Cangiarella as he recounted the shootings to members of the 63rd Precinct Community Council recently. “They’re concerned with the clientele and they’re doing what they can.”

Police said that a man was hospitalized following a drive-by shooting near the corner of Ralph Avenue and Preston Court. The victim was reportedly leaving Club Jambalaya, which is just down the block, when he was hit.

Before the hour was out, an unhinged triggerman was brazen enough to open fire outside of the Venus nightclub -- formerly Club XO on Utica Avenue near Avenue J -- right in front of six police officers.

“We’re all scratching our heads over this total disregard for the law,” Cangiarella told council members. “There were cops not forty feet away from this guy pulls a gun and opens fire.”

Cops at the scene jumped into action and grabbed the gunman after a brief chase. They also recovered the man’s gun, which was thrown onto a nearby rooftop.

Cangiarella said that the two incidents have kicked up the precinct’s shooting tally for the year.

Yet, ironically, the cops who witnessed the shootings are routinely posted in front of area nightclubs to prevent such violence.

“We try to have a unit in front of each club sometime during the night, particularly when they let out” Cangiarella said, adding that there are 30 State Liquor Authority (SLA) licensed premises in the confines of the 63rd Precinct, which includes Flatlands, Mill Basin, Marine Park and Bergen Beach.

The shootings takes place a few short weeks after Flatlands residents showed up in droves to complain about Squadz, a nightclub on Utica Avenue near Avenue K.

Residents who bookend the club on East 49th and East 51st Street complained about noise, inappropriate behavior and said that they believe that a recent spree of tire slashings could be linked to club guests.

Cangiarella said that he helped broker a meeting between the owners of Squadz and residents of East 49th Street.

“Some of the residents concerns are easily controllable such as the volume of the music and making sure that their guests leave their bottles behind when they leave,” he said. “When these people step out of the club, we’re going to step in to make sure that residents are not being disrespect­ed.”

Cangiarella said that the owners of Squadz has agreed to take care of some of the community’s concerns.

“We all have the same goal,” he said. “No one wants to see anyone’s quality of life be affected.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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