PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The hookah lounge where a man was stabbed to death Wednesday night has been temporarily closed by the city’s licensing board.
Nara Lounge, on Atwells Avenue, will remain closed until a show-cause hearing on Monday. The club’s attorney, Nick Hemond, said the club agreed to the closure and would have remain closed for a few days anyway out of respect for the victim.
Providence Police say Troy Pine, 46, was stabbed around 11 p.m. inside the hookah lounge by another man, who fled the scene. The victim made his way outside, where he was found on the sidewalk.
He died at Rhode Island Hospital, according to police.
Police said the club has been cooperating with the investigation and provided surveillance video.
Hemond said there was no security on duty at the club Wednesday night, which is required on nights with entertainment, because the security guard did not show up. The lounge had a live band playing on Wednesday night.
“There was a security guard scheduled to be there,” Hemond said outside the Board of Licenses meeting. “What I’ve been told is that that person did not show up to work.”
The owner of the security company, NES Solutions, disputed that claim.
Owner Wayne Fantasia said the company provides security services to Nara on Friday and Saturday nights, and is sometimes requested on other weeknights. But he said the company hasn’t worked a Wednesday for Nara since Sept. 4, and did not receive a request to work Wednesday night.
“Our prayers and best wishes go out to the family of the victim,” Fantasia said in a statement.
Hemond later said it appeared that the owners had cancelled a previous Wednesday night, but the company thought they had cancelled all Wednesday nights.
Nightclub violence is a major topic of discussion in Providence, with a working group currently trying to come up with solutions to the problem of repeated shootings and stabbings around 2 a.m. when clubs let out.
In this case, the violence happened earlier in the night, and inside the club.
“This was a random act of violence,” said Federal Hill Councilwoman Rachel Miller. “It could’ve happened anywhere.”
She said the victim was a regular on Federal Hill, and described the owner of Nara Lounge as “devastated.”
Miller herself has proposed a moratorium on 2 a.m. liquor licenses on Federal Hill. Another nightclub on the Hill, Club Seven, was shut down over the summer following a murder that took place up the street.
Rick Simone with the Federal Hill Commerce Association also described this murder as “dramatically different” than the previous violence.
“This is not a venue that we have a problem with,” Simone said. “This was something that was incredibly random.”
“Our hearts are broken for the victim that passed away,” Simone added.
Simone and Miller both encouraged people to attend the Columbus Day festival on Federal Hill next week.
“I want people to know that Federal Hill is safe,” Miller said. “It is a place to celebrate.”