Streetsboro -- With a crowd of 200 to 300 shoving against the doors of Stringz & Wingz to gain entry to the Route 303 establishment March 16 to see DJ Holiday and DJ Phenom, police and the restaurant's management made a joint decision to close the facility, according to a March 18 news release from the Streetsboro Police Department.
At that point, there were already 1,200 to 1,500 inside the business, states the release.
According to the news release, 50 officers from nine different agencies were present at the event with "Pepperball deployment systems for crowd control." There also were several K-9 officers at the event.
"That's based on the events that they had down there previously," said Streetsboro Police Lt. Darin Powers. "I would rather be prepared for the worst and hope for best."
The event resulted in no injuries and one arrest, according to the news release: Aaron Radcliffe, 23, of Canton, for alleged disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
"It didn't get too bad at all," said Powers.
Stringz & Wingz Owner "Chef" Bill Thompson said he did not grant permission for Blueprint Marketing & Design Group to promote the event as "The return of the Kent Arena."
The Arena, the business which formerly occupied Stringz & Wingz' location, had history of crime in the parking lot on the evening of major events.
"The event was promoted outside my standard promotion area," said Thompson, adding it was promoted to colleges via social media as a kind "frat party."
An employee with Blueprint Marketing & Design Group declined to comment.
Once he was aware of the problem and how events at the Arena had been organized and promoted, Thompson said he worked closely with police and fire officials to make sure the event didn't get out of hand.
"I wasn't fully aware of exactly what was going to happen until probably two days before," he said.
The event, which was supposed to run from 9 p.m. March 16 to 1 a.m. the next morning was shut down when the people outside the facility began shoving each other in their eagerness to enter, according to police.
Thompson said his security team could no longer control entry.
"I could no longer check IDs or search people," he said. "Once that broke down, I could no longer secure the safety of everybody."
Powers said police were concerned crowd members could be crushed outside the building.
"By 12:30 a.m., everyone had left the facility, and the parking lot had been cleared out," stated the news release.
Thompson said he hired a total of 18 security personnel for inside the business, in addition to Streetsboro Fire Department Lt. Kevin Grimm, who coordinated with safety forces outside the building.
"Everything was fine inside the building," said Thompson. "Everybody was having a good time."
Mayor Glenn Broska said the event was out of character for Thompson, who he said "does an enormous amount of stuff for the community."
Once Thompson became aware of the potential for trouble, Broska said he did everything right to try to contain the event.
"Bill has apologized profusely for scheduling an event like this," said Broska. "I have to give Bill a lot of credit, though. He recognized relatively early there going to be an issue and cooperated fully."
Thompson estimated he lost $16,000 on the event. Even if it had been profitable, though, Thompson said he wouldn't repeat it.
"There isn't enough money out there to make me hjold this kind of event again," he said.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens