PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway after two men were shot overnight in Pawtucket, resulting in the city’s first homicide of the year.
Qudus Kafo, 36, died as a result of the shooting, according to Pawtucket police, while Bruno P. Vaz, 37, remains hospitalized.
Det. Sgt. Christopher LeFort said the shooting happened in the middle of Benefit Street around 12:45 a.m. Monday. Police believe it stemmed from a fight at Fab City Cigar Lounge, and LeFort said both victims were shot by another person or people who were involved.
The two men were taken to Rhode Island Hospital where Kafo was pronounced dead.
The extent of Vaz’s injuries is unclear at this time.
Pawtucket police said officers have responded to nearly 200 calls for service at Fab City since 2019, with 114 service calls last year alone. Of those calls, 57 were security checks and 24 were liquor establishment checks.
Police have responded to the lounge nine times so far this year, with the most serious being Monday’s homicide.
In August 2020, the R.I. Department of Health served the business a compliance order for violating public health protocols. Police noted that they observed approximately 20 people outside the establishment “drinking and being extremely loud and disruptive.”
According to the order, police estimated at least 140 people were inside at the time, not wearing masks or social distancing.
The lounge was ordered to close, but reopened a few days later.
People who live in the area and wanted to stay anonymous said they’d like to see the business shut down for good.
“It has gone way past being a public nuisance, to where it’s a public hazard,” one resident said. “This is a neighborhood, and this place is destroying it.”
In a statement to 12 News, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said that “reoccurring violence related to this business is deeply concerning.”
“Fab City Cigar Lounge is a public nuisance, putting a strain on the Pawtucket Police Department resources,” the statement continued. “Chief Tina Goncalves and the PPD are always working to put an end to these tragic incidents.”
City Council President David Moran spoke with 12 News over the phone Monday evening, saying an emergency Board of License Commissioners meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday night.
“It is unfortunate, the tragedy that has taken place,” Moran added. “The Board of License Commissioners and the City Council take this seriously.”
12 News attempted to reach the cigar lounge and its attorney for comment by phone and email on Monday.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact Det. Doug Harrington at (401) 727-9110 ext. 725.