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Reign Restaurant event shut down by police after violating order to close

The nightclub is supposed to be shut down for a year. The city is now exploring what to do about the order violation

ST. LOUIS — A downtown restaurant and nightclub now faces more trouble from the city after violating an order given to them just a week ago.

A statement from the office of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said city officials were notified of an event at Reign Restaurant, located at 1122 Washington Ave., around 8 p.m. on Friday.

“They were letting people in. The event was starting and the patrons were taken in through the back door," said neighbor Chuck Williams.

Williams called police after his fears and concerns grew after he saw a security guard holding what he says was a semiautomatic weapon.

“I called police because there were several gentlemen in the back of the building and one of them had what appeared to be a semiautomatic rifle. To me, that just didn’t look safe. Any time you have an assault rifle like that out in the open in a downtown neighborhood in close proximity to people, it is scary,” said Williams.

Police on bike patrol responded quickly and shut down the event without incident or arrest, according to Jones' office. 

Nick Dunne, a spokesman for Jones, says no one was arrested and no one was cited.

Since an order to close was issued by the City of St. Louis Problem Properties division on Oct. 1, the city is now exploring the next steps as it relates to the order violation.

MORE: City of St. Louis: Reign Restaurant ordered to close for one year

"The City of St. Louis, along with business, community, and civic leaders on the Downtown Engagement and Public Safety Initiative, is dedicated to activating Downtown to create positive spaces for all and will continue to hold individuals and businesses accountable," the release said.

Reign has been facing problems because of a spike in violence in the area, with many neighbors and nearby businesses accusing the establishment of bringing violence and chaos to the Washington Avenue corridor.

“I do think when Reign leaves, what I hope mostly is that we bring other businesses in. We want a vibrant and thriving downtown,” said Williams.

In previous conversations with Reign's owner Dana Kelly, she argued the crime trends were happening long before she opened her business.

READ: Owner of Reign Restaurant addresses violence concerns blamed on her business