ST. HELENA

Midnight Soul Patrol could lose license, pending Dept. of Revenue decision

achristnovich@islandpacket.comJuly 24, 2012 

Pictured is the Midnight Soul Patrol, at 56 Toomer Road on St. Helena Island, where an early morning shooting occurred on June 21. Four people were shot in the incident, and two later died.

FILE, STAFF PHOTO

A St. Helena nightclub could lose its ability to sell beer and wine after a gun fight on the premises resulted in two deaths.

Two men were killed and two were injured after last month's shoot-out at the Midnight Soul Patrol nightclub. Two suspects were arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder, though officials believe more were involved in the feud.

Following an inspection July 3, the Alcohol and Beverage Control Team of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office reported a violation of the club's beer and wine permit, saying the license-holder "permitted a criminal act" in association with the June 21 shooting.

Two deputies inspect alcohol-permit related incidents full-time in Beaufort County, performing routine checks on licensed businesses and responding whenever there are incidents or complaints of violations.

It isn't in the power of the Sheriff's Office, however, to issue punishments for these types of violations. Deputies can only write violation reports and send them to the S.C. Department of Revenue, where reports are assessed and sanctions decided.

The most severe punishment a business faces for permittance of a criminal act, according to the South Carolina State House website, is revocation of its license to sell alcohol. Lesser punishments include a fine or suspension of its license.

The club's owner, Elaine Brown, 55, of St. Helena, was named on the violation report as the responsible party of the license violations. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The Department of Revenue also could not be reached Tuesday, and it is not clear if or when penalties will be assessed.

The business also was inspected on July 3 by Scott Baldwin, a fire marshal with the Lady's Island-St. Helena Fire District. He said he found seven fire code violations, none of which were deemed "immediate life-safety hazards."

Baldwin asked Brown to make the following corrections:

  • The occupancy load of the building requires doors to swing outward. They swung inward at the time of the inspection.

  • The type of lock on some doors needs to be replaced.

  • Emergency lights or illumination are needed inside building.

  • Cooking equipment needs to be removed or replaced with a system that has a metal hood with fire suppression.

  • An electrical panel needs to be labeled.

  • Electrical outlets need to be covered.

  • The address must be clearly posted.

  • Brown was given until July 18 to comply with the codes. Baldwin said Brown met almost every request, with the exception of replacing the doors. She removed the cooking equipment instead of replacing it.

    "She did submit a request for an extension to fix the doors," Baldwin said Friday. "(Brown) made a lot of progress in resolving the issues."

    The next fire code inspection is Aug. 8, Baldwin said.

    Baldwin also said the business is in compliance with the necessary county and state permits.

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