Mingle Room Manager: 'There is no possible way that weapon was inside the venue'
The Operating Manager of the troubled Mingle Room Bar & Lounge says his establishment is not to blame after a deadly shooting early Monday morning .
“There is no possible way that weapon was inside the venue,” says Ardy Rahmani, speaking with the media for the first time since the deadly shooting.
Rahmani spoke to CTV on the patio of the bar, just steps away from where Ashton Dickson, 25, was gunned down around 1am Monday. He showed reporters the metal detector wand used to check every guest before they enter the bar. On top of that, he says, every guest is subject to a pat-down.
“There is no possible way that a weapon can go through my security,” adds Rahmani.
While Rahmani sends his condolences to the Dickson family, he admits the Mingle Room’s reputation has been tarnished after two shootings and a stabbing within days on the sidewalk outside the bar.
“My bar, restaurant, lounge is not responsible for actions of people on the street,” Rahmani says, “if people want to walk around with guns outside on the streets there’s nothing I can do. I’m not the police; I’m not the mayor of this city.”
Rahmani says he has seen video surveillance of the deadly scene from other nearby businesses, but the Mingle Room doesn’t have any security footage of the shooting, that’s because police had seized the equipment after another shooting and stabbing just days earlier.
Rahmani says despite the impression in the neighbourhood, Mingle Room is not a gang hangout, “people are accusing this venue of having gang-bangers, I don’t know where it’s coming from.”
Ottawa Bylaw officers were on scene investigating the Mingle Room on Tuesday. The establishment has a restaurant license, but bylaw is concerned it may be operating as a nightclub. The bar also advertises as a shisha lounge, Ottawa city council voted to ban smoking hookah waterpipes earlier this year. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario plans to inspect the lounge on Wednesday. In a statement to CTV, an AGCO spokesperson says, “As part of its investigation, the AGCO will review the licensee’s operations to ensure that the highest standards of public safety and social responsibility are met.”
The city councillor for the area, Mathieu Fleury, says government has some power to shut-down establishments, but not all the power, “it might be shut-down by process,” says Fleury, “we’re well underway in terms of a review.”
Rahmani says the Mingle Room will add more door-staff in hopes of increasing security. He has no plans to shut-down the bar.