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19 News coverage of a recent murder sparks state authorities to open investigation into the Kinsman Party Center

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 10:05 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A 19 News investigation lead state officials to open an investigation Friday into the operations of the Kinsman Party Center.

We last told you about the search for the suspect in Sunday’s murder in the center’s parking lot.

Friday, we uncovered a history of violent crimes at the Kinsman Party Center’s listed address on E 93rd Street.

Multiple memorials that remain in the center’s parking lot indicate the pain people have felt there.

According to data we compiled, in the last six months, police have been called to investigate at least seven crimes outside the center, including aggravated robbery, assault, thefts, shootings, and two murders.

Each one took place after midnight in front of the property which is directly across the street from the city’s fourth district police station.

“This is a community problem, clearly, if it keeps repetitively happening,” Tracie Ellis-Reid said.

Deontay Ellis was the most recent man to die in the parking lot. His family is fed up and says it’s time action is taken against the party center.

“I really think it should be shut down,” his mother said.

The Ohio Investigative Unit in charge of enforcing alcohol laws tells 19 investigates the location has been on their radar for a while.

Until now though, OIU’s Eric Wolf says officers have mostly been called to the parking lot and the liquor store next door.

“We’ve had little interaction inside the party center itself at this point,” Wold said.

We found a liquor license in the state’s database for alcohol sales at the store. But, Wolf confirms that the building owner does not have a license to serve alcohol at the party center.

“The C class licenses that they have allow sales for off premises consumption. No permits issued in that area are issued for on premises consumption such as a bar or restaurant,” he said.

Regardless, we found multiple flyers online for parties here over the last few years. One advertises “Drink Up Saturdays” where they offer “all you can drink for $20.″ Wolf says that would be a problem even if the center had the right license.

“The advertisement had a fixed price for an unlimited quantity of drinks, and that in it of itself is a violation,” Wolf said.

Wolf says that advertisement and the questions we brought him after speaking to Ellis’s family, have officers looking into the operations of the party center itself.

“We will basically create a case out of this and investigate the information. So, we will be looking at that event center,” he said.

We tried to reach out to the party center, but the number listed online for the business didn’t work and there’s no way to send the business’s page a message on Facebook.

Ellis’s mother Terri says she hopes her son’s death is a catalyst.

“The lord always allows things to happen for a reason, so that things can change,” she said.

But, she believes the only lasting way to fix the troubling crime in the area, is for people to give their lives to Christ.

If you have information that could help in Ellis’s murder investigation, call Cleveland Police.

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