Statesboro considers power to close clubs - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Statesboro considers power to close clubs

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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) -

Statesboro's mayor wasted little time addressing the death of a Georgia Southern student last week.

Jan Moore asked city council to speed up consideration of some ordinance changes to close businesses that may be a threat to public safety.

Freshman Michael Gatto died from an assault at Rude Rudy's. A now-former employee of the club has been charged with murder and assault.

The provision is part of a broader change to the city's alcohol policies that the council has studied in several workshops this year. They previously anticipated they would pass the changes next summer.

The ordinance would give the city authority to temporarily close a business in the event of complaints of noise, gunfire, fighting or other safety issue.

Last fall, the city was forced to take two clubs to Superior Court and ask a judge to close them due to complaints and deadly shootings at each. The new ordinance would allow the city to suspend a businesses license for three days and hold a public hearing.

"Right now, we don't have the power to say 'stop, let's look at this and see if something should be done before this place continues business.' I refuse to believe that a death like this is just the price of doing business" Moore said afterward.

Moore extended condolences to Gatto's family during the meeting. She said police continued to investigate the case. Grant Spencer, the 20-year-old student accused in Gatto's death, remains in jail pending a hearing in Superior Court.

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