Waterbury Mayor Wants Strip Club Shut Down After Shooting

Days after the melee that injured three in a massive strip club shooting in Waterbury, the mayor has asked that the venue be shut down and is urging the state Liquor Control Commission to deny its application for a liquor permit.

According to Mayor Neil O’Leary, the morning of March 22, four people fired 29 shots into a crowd at Pandora’s Cabaret at 141 Washington Avenue. O’Leary said investigators have learned that three of the shooters were bouncers contracted by the strip club.

“The fact that this establishment would utilize armed bouncers who would engage in such dangerous criminal behavior indicates to me that the owners and management of Pandora’s Cabaret have on regard for public safety or the laws that govern us,” O’Leary wrote in a letter to the Liquor Control Commission on Monday.

The incident began with a brawl inside the club that bouncers forced into the street, police said. The suspects then fired into the crowd, wounding three. Authorities found 29 shell casings in the parking lot.

“Fortunately the injuries were not serious, but it is a miracle that more people were not shot and no fatalities occurred considering the number of shots that were fired directly into a crowd of people,” O’Leary wrote.

Surveillance video released last Wednesday shows a man firing a semi-automatic handgun from the club’s front door.

“The total disregard for human life demonstrated by the suspects in this case is disturbing,” O’Leary wrote. “I shudder to think what could have happened if a police officer encountered this shooting in progress.”

He said police have responded to more than 40 incidents at the strip club since it opened a year ago. Most calls revolved around fights and large crowd complaints, but several serious crimes also transpired, including a slashing, shooting and armed robbery.

O’Leary said the strip club should close its doors.

“I strongly believe that its continued operation will have an adverse effect on public safety and quality of life in the City of Waterbury,” he wrote.

Last week, police obtained an arrest warrant for 32-year-old Javier Vasque, who detectives believe instigated the fight.

He'll find gun possession and attempted assault charges.

Investigators believe drugs and alcohol contributed to the incident.

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