EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Just days after a recent shooting on Cincinnati street, the El Paso County Attorney’s Office filed a civil lawsuit against the Rockin’ Cigar Bar & Grill to permanently close the business.
The lawsuit cites an interview between El Paso police and a suspect linking the bar to the Nov. 21 shooting. The interviewing officer spoke with a 20-year-old in the military who said he had been drinking at the bar.
The bar is one of several businesses that personnel from the military are not allowed to visit, according to a list provided in the lawsuit.
“A physical altercation occurred inside the bar and carried outside, where someone was shot,” the citation states.
On Tuesday, the county attorney’s office filed a suit against the bar and secured a restraining order against the business the next day. The court-ordered closure was a blow to the bar’s business as the day before Thanksgiving is a busy night for bars across the country.
The bar will remain closed until an injunction hearing in early December where a court will decide whether the business can open.
The county attorney’s office says there are 65 documented incidents recorded by law enforcement that allegedly violate the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission’s rules and regulations. Also, the attorney’s offices claims the bar’s ownership has not taken steps to address nuisances and alleges the bar tolerates violations, and other illegal acts.
A review of calls to the Rockin’ Cigar Bar, show out of 111 calls for service between February 1, 2018 and November 18, 2021, 57 were made to the El Paso Police Department. And, eight calls were made for the fire department
“Rockin’ Cigar Bar & Grill is a place where persons habitually go for the purpose of engaging in crimes
which are common nuisance activities,” the lawsuit states.
There are various references to assaults and fights starting in the bar listed in the lawsuit. And, law enforcement says the bar is frequently visited by the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, an organization identified for being involved in gang activity.
And, investigators allege employees sold drugs, patrons drugged drinks, and minors were served alcohol under its roof.
Frank Ricci, the bar’s owner contests the county attorney’s claims and says his record and the record of his business and employees is “clean.”
“We intend on defending ourselves in court,” he told KTSM 9 News.