Police ask for emergency closure of club after violence

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -The Providence Board of Licenses ordered the immediate temporary closure of a nightclub after early-morning violence there Saturday.

Major David Lapatin told Eyewitness News that the department requested an emergency hearing of the Providence Board of Licenses Saturday afternoon regarding the events at Van Gogh Lounge the previous evening.

Violence at the club’s 2 a.m. closing time included one stabbing and another assault right outside the Harris Avenue club that left a victim unconscious.

The stabbing victim was taken to an area hospital in critical, but stable condition. The second victim, who was knocked unconscious, was also transported to the hospital for evaluation. Both men are in their 20’s, according to a police report of the incident.

Sergeant David Tajeda told the board at Saturday’s hearing that police arrested a man believed to be the stabbing suspect, after he was taken off of a party bus by police. Police have identified the suspect as 22-year-old Iquan Arnum, and say Arnum is facing a disorderly conduct charge. He’s currently being held at the ACI.

Sgt. Tajeda advised that the club close since there were a “minimum of at least 20-22 people on this party bus, and obviously not all of them are in custody, so the concern is that there would be retaliation on the part of anybody who is affiliated with the suspect.”

The club must remain closed for 72 hours, following another hearing on Monday to reevaluate the situation.

Providence Police testified at the hearing that the club’s owner told them he broke his own rule and allowed a large group off of a party bus to come inside the club, since it was a slow night. These were the patrons who were later involved in Saturday night’s altercations.

This is not Van Gogh Lounge’s first Board of Licenses closure. A shooting on October 11 of last year resulted in a 50-day suspension of the club’s license.

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