WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — The bartender that served the man who shot and killed Warren Assistant Fire Chief Brian Remy at the Italo-American Club last year wasn’t legally certified to serve alcohol, according to Town Solicitor Anthony DeSisto.
The bartender’s lack of a TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) certification came to light during a hearing regarding whether the town should revoke the club’s liquor license.
The Warren Town Council revoked the club’s liquor license immediately after the shooting, but a temporary stay issued by the R.I. Department of Business Regulation (DBR) made it possible for the club to continue serving alcohol on a limited basis.
Remy was shot and killed by Michael Oullette, the social club’s president, inside the club last September.
DeSisto tells 12 News the surveillance footage from inside the club is chilling, adding that Oullette shot Remy “execution style” as he was sitting at the bar.
“The deputy chief was on his phone and wasn’t even looking at him,” DeSisto said. “He came up behind him and shot him without any provocation.”
Oullette also shot and injured another patron who was sitting at the bar, though police said he managed to escape by crawling into the club’s kitchen.
DeSisto said Oullette’s actions immediately after the shooting also startled him.
“Before he leaves, he gets another beer from the bartender and drinks it,” he said, adding that the bartender was clearly afraid and in shock.
Oullette was served at least seven beers in the morning and afternoon hours leading up to the shooting, according to police, and a toxicology report revealed his blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit.
DeSisto said the bartender who served Oullette ended up getting his TIPS certification a month after the shooting. (TIPS is a nationally recognized certification program that educates bartenders on how to responsibly serve alcohol to patrons.)
DeSisto admitted he’s not sure whether the bartender being TIPS certified would’ve prevented the shooting from happening.
“This was such a tragic thing to happen,” DeSisto said. “You wonder about issues like that and whether it would have been a determining factor in preventing such a senseless tragedy.”
DeSisto said the town wants the club’s liquor license revoked for good, not only because of what happened inside, but also what happened after Oullette had left.
Oullette took his own life in the alley outside of his Water Street apartment following a shootout with Bristol officers, according to police.
Attorney Kevin Bristow, who’s representing the club, argues Oullette had never been a problem in the past.
But DeSisto believes there’s no excuse for what happened.
“I can’t think of a worse incident that could ever happen,” DeSisto said. “It put the public at risk. This is a very severe infraction for a liquor licensee to have.”
“It was a traumatic event for the community,” he continued. “They haven’t forgotten.”
The DBR tells 12 News a decision has yet to be made regarding the club’s liquor license.
12 News reached out to Bristow and the club’s current president for comment but have not heard back.