The Churchill’s shooting (that wasn’t?)

By | July 26th, 2011 | 12 Comments
Outside Churchill's Pub in Miami

Outside Churchill's, where the shooting didn't happen, Michael says.

Last Thursday, Local 10 reported — and the Miami New Times re-reported — a drive-by shooting at 3:30 a.m. in front of Churchill’s Pub on 55th Street and Northeast 2nd Avenue in Little Haiti. Both outlets later updated their initial write-ups, with the New Times reporting that the shooting was not a drive-by and had occurred after “most patrons of [Churchill’s] had gone home,” attributing the new information to a source from the iconic pub-and-grub punk club.

The update did not clear up all of the inaccuracies in the local media’s coverage of the shooting, says Churchill’s entertainment director Ian Michael. Not only was the shooting not a drive-by — it was not in front of Churchill’s. Calling the incident “a dispute between crackheads”, Michael says the shooting took place “behind Churchill’s … a block away from the door.”

For many, a shooting one block away from Churchill’s might as well have happened in front of Churchill’s, but the distinction is important to Michael, who says the club has experienced a backlash since the shooting reports broke, with several bands cancelling upcoming shows and patrons saying they plan to stay away from the 30-year-old dive bar from now on.

“I’m talking to bands that tell me they’re cancelling, and I’m telling them the same thing: it wasn’t during business hours, it wasn’t a drive-by, it occurred after we closed between non-patrons,” Michael says. Kid Fisto, Antics, and The Fringe have all pulled out of the show they were supposed to play at Churchill’s on Thursday, July 28, Michael says.

It should be noted that Michael did not witness the shooting and was not at Churchill’s himself when it happened. His story comes from club owner Dave Daniels, who lives behind Churchill’s and who woke up to the sound of gunfire at approximately 3:30 Thursday morning. Michael says Daniels ran out of his house and “saw the last bit of it happening.”

“He saw people running,” Michael says. “He didn’t see or hear any cars. He saw two men, one dead and another man wounded.”

Regardless of the inaccuracies in the initial local media coverage, Michael says the backlash to the shooting is an overreaction.

“This sort of thing happens all the time,” he says. “Little Haiti is a lot safer than the neighborhood next to Vagabond or Eve [downtown]. I’ve had my car broken into down there, and someone tried to mug me once. [Little Haiti] is not the greatest neighborhood. If you leave your purse in your car and park a block away, it’s going to get stolen. But, shit, you can say that about places in suburbia too.”

Even if Little Haiti is dangerous, it is all part of what make’s Churchill’s unique, Michael says.

“One of the things that makes Churchill’s special is the neighborhood it’s in,” he says. “That’s why the prices are so low.”

Daniels, Churchill’s septuagenarian owner, is planning to release a statement on the shooting “when he gets around it to it,” Michael says. In the meantime, the club is trying to get the New Times to write a follow-up article about the shooting.

“We reached out to them [on Monday], but so far we haven’t heard back from them,” Michael says.

In related news, the New Times is presenting its “Best of the Best” show on Saturday … at Churchill’s.

See you there?

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12 Comments on “The Churchill’s shooting (that wasn’t?)”

  1. 1 Anon said at 11:16 am on July 26th, 2011:

    Septuagenarian? Seriously? Way to rock that thesaurus, bro.

  2. 2 Jordan Melnick said at 11:21 am on July 26th, 2011:

    @Anon, seriously. I sleep with it under my pillow.

  3. 3 Ian Michael said at 5:45 pm on July 26th, 2011:

    Thanks for writing this Jordan. I would just like to add a few words. I am not bashing Vagabond or Eve. I love those places and am a frequent visitor at both. Nor am I accusing the media of twisting a headline to sensationalize a story. We just want to clear up some confusion caused by the articles published by Channel 10, Miami New Times, and other news sources. Some bands have cancelled, some people have called in concerned, and others are simply bashing us on their blogs. Lets clear the air: This incident happened well after we were closed and the staff had all left. No one who works at Churchill’s or attended the show were involved. It occurred on the block behind our establishment. In specific response to one blogger who wrote they were never going back to Churchill’s becuase of this incident- Shootings & violence happen every where you go. Malls, Gas Stations, Parking lots, walmarts, but you’re not gonna stop going there are you?

  4. 4 tony brazzole said at 7:59 pm on July 26th, 2011:

    Your right there is violence everywhere you go. Here is the question, why were those crackheads in that area? Answer, they go there to hustle customers at Churchill’s for money in the parking lot. They don’t live there. I’ll never go there again because Dave has done nothing to stop those derelicts from hanging around the parking lot. He could easily put a fence around the lot, hire a security guard, and put more pressure on the MPD to remove them for trespassing. He has done none of these things and it’s disrespectful to those of us who have been going there for years keeping his business, in business. It’s only going to get worse from here on out if he doesn’t do something. especially once the Monterrey club expands to a larger capacity club. And the drinks aren’t that cheap.

  5. 5 Scott said at 11:15 pm on July 26th, 2011:

    Great story, great angle. You’re really just providing such a great service to Miami ( and in this case to it’s businesses) with this entire site. My hat’s off to you guys.

  6. 6 Jordan Melnick said at 11:57 pm on July 26th, 2011:

    Thank you Scott. Always appreciate the support.

  7. 7 Carlito said at 12:05 pm on July 27th, 2011:

    Churchill’s is a DUMP! Every time you arrive and try parking your car, you are flooded by crackheads saying they will “take care of” your car if you give them some $$.
    The owner hasn’t spent a dime fixing the place or anything. Crackheads have overrun your establishment dude! One other thing…it doesn’t help your cause to say that shootings and violence happen here all the time!
    This incident was the last straw for a lot of people. The scene has gotten worse and worse every year.

  8. 8 Chris said at 12:45 pm on July 27th, 2011:

    I would have to agree a bit with both stances. Violence does happen everywhere and people should not overreact to one shooting incident that happened down the block between unrelated parties. However, some of the commenters make a valid point that Dave could probably be doing more to discourage the riff raff from hanging around the bar, harassing customers, and breaking into cars. Perhaps he tried at some point but realized that it was a futile undertaking, since the neighborhood in of itself is pretty ghetto. The residents are partaking in the break ins and crime is just a fact of life in the area. The cops don’t give a shit. My car was broken into at Sweatstock, and I was not surprised. Pissed, but not surprised. You just have to know what your getting into when you head over there. Make sure to park within sight of the bar. Leave your doors unlocked so they don’t break your windows…and have fun. Otherwise, fuck off to Midtown and stop crying.

  9. 9 Bizzy said at 11:36 pm on July 27th, 2011:

    Like many have mentioned already, these types of incidents happen often and everywhere. Sure Churchill’s is a bit more prone to it, but most are aware of this when attending churchill’s. Some might even go as far as saying this part of the dive bar’s charm (not implying that it’s fun to have your possessions stolen or be caught in gun-fire). Just be smart, take a little bit of time prior to attending churchill’s and plan ahead. But don’t stop supporting churchill’s or later we’ll be crying over the days that where at this legendary gem, that we all know we are very lucky is still around.

  10. 10 William Alton said at 12:09 am on July 28th, 2011:

    I never felt safe at Churchill’s and I never want to.

  11. 11 Chuck Livid said at 12:15 am on July 28th, 2011:

    Churchill’s needs to take legitimate action to make their patrons more secure. Off-duty cops/security, more cameras, well-lit parking, etc. Comparing the lack of security at your organization to others does not conjure a sense of safety to your clientele.

    On a macro-level Wal-mart had this same issue in regards to car break-ins. Their solution was taking some of the aforementioned steps. Do the same on a budget you can manage. Shit I’d pay you more for a beer knowing my car’s safe.

    Patrons need to have more common sense as well- Don’t leave shit in your car.

    I personally show up with nothing in my car and walk in only with only my wallet in my back pocket.

    Personally, the shooting wasn’t surprising, it’s the insane amount of car break-ins that have been plaguing this place for the last few months.

    I love you Churchill’s and I’ll see you Friday.

  12. 12 Caleb said at 2:11 am on July 28th, 2011:

    I would like to invite Chris to come to Little Haiti in the daytime. Get some lunch at Pimon Bouk, check out the new Little Haiti Cultural Center, it’s beautiful. BTW, there are a lot of production support companies in the neighborhood, prop shops, video gear rental etc. It’s a little ignorant and also prejudiced to say that Little Haiti is a ghetto, and that the neighbors are partaking in the cat break ins etc.
    I do agree that the panhandling vagrants around Churchill’s are annoying anf are most likely drawn there by Churchill’s. I myself am tired of it. I would gladly pay an extra fifty cents a drink to pay for a security guard to watch the area.
    What makes me an expert? I live up the street.

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