Liquor license removed from Cleveland gas station where violent crimes frequently happen, police say

Liquor license removed from Cleveland gas station where violent crimes frequently happen

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Gas USA on the corner of St. Clair Avenue and E. 123rd Street in Glenville, where numerous calls to police about dangerous and fatal incidents occurred, is no longer able to legally sell alcohol.

Cleveland police said there have been several problems at the gas station including: homicide, shots fired, felonious assaults, assaults, loud noise complaints, people threatening others with a weapon, robberies, drug overdoses and fights.

“We want businesses that are gonna enforce the standards in our community,” said Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek. “They’re not gonna cater to an unruly element. They’re gonna have safety, they’re gonna have security, they’re gonna have the proper lighting and when they do have issues on their property they’re gonna be proactive and call the police and do their part.”

Police said 23-year-old Tommie James was killed in a shooting in July 2020 at this gas station. Another victim was taken to University Hospitals for the same incident.

According to police, from January of 2020 through December 2020 officers were called to the Gas USA 72 times.

“When I have and hear elderly black women tell me that they’re afraid to walk down the street because of the characters hanging out in that parking lot tells you a whole lot,” Polensek said. “That’s outrageous, it’s disgusting quite frankly and then you look as you have seen the the rap sheet, the violence that has taken place there the shootings, the beatings, assaults.”

Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek, Cleveland Councilman Anthony Hairston and a Cleveland police Vice Squad officer all testified at a hearing before the Division of Liquor Control to have the liquor license pulled.

Polensek testified he received more complaints from this site than any other liquor license holder in his ward.

“This establishment has been a major source of violence in the Glenville neighborhood,” Polensek said. “These owners and operators of this place they would never permit this in the high end neighborhoods, suburbs, that they live in, would never tolerate it, would never live by anything like this but yet they think it’s alright in the city of Cleveland.”

Mohammed Elabd, Gas USA manager says they’ve been unfairly targeted.

“As far as for us, as the business owners, we didn’t do anything wrong. We put police, we tried to protect, I mean we spoke to the councilman but there’s something else going on behind the scenes, we’re not understanding what’s happening,” said Elabd.

The owners of Gas USA say they plan on appealing the decision. Polensek says he will fight it.

“I’m prepared to go to Columbus with the residents to fight this,” the councilman said. “The message has to be sent loud and clear - in the city of Cleveland a liquor license is a privilege, it’s not an entitlement.

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