by Mary Wilson
The Grandview Board of Aldermen held an administrative hearing on Tuesday, October 27, to determine if the suspension of the occupational license for Los Guerreros Mexican Bar and Grill, located at 514 Main Street, should be continued or if the license should be revoked.
According to the staff report, the occupational license for Los Guerreros was suspended on October 10, 2015, on the basis that the establishment was serving beer on the premises without either a state or city liquor license and because the restaurant has become a nuisance in the city due to persistent criminal activity. The hearing gave Los Guerreros the opportunity to appeal the suspension of the occupational license to the Board of Aldermen.
“The City of Grandview has given Los Guerreros written notice of this hearing,” said Mayor Leonard Jones. “Los Guerreros may be represented by council and has the right to present witnesses and cross-examine the city’s witnesses.”
Despite notification of the hearing, there was no representation from Los Guerreros. The owner of the restaurant, Monica Romero, received a copy of the Notice of Suspension on October 10, which served to inform her that the occupational license was ordered suspended and that the restaurant must cease operations immediately, according to the staff report. The suspension notice also provided details for the administrative hearing.
Becky Schimmel, City Clerk, was the first to testify before the Board. According to Schimmel, the liquor license for Los Guerreros expired on June 30, 2015. Schimmel stated that the City issued the most recent occupational license to owner, Monica Romero, on September 1, 2015. It was also brought to her attention that there was inebriation-involved criminal activity.
“I then expressed the information to the police department personnel that they did not have a liquor license,” said Schimmel. “It appeared that there had been drinking either on the premises or inside.”
Sergeant Dean Van Winkle, Director of Liquor Control, testified next. Van Winkle provided a spreadsheet with recorded incidents that occurred at Los Guerreros, including a report of a male armed with and brandishing a handgun.
“Officers found an intoxicated man armed with a shotgun when they arrived,” said Van Winkle. “They found the shotgun to be unloaded, but there was a 12-gauge round found in the vehicle.”
According to Van Winkle, the suspect’s blood-alcohol content level exceeded legal limit. Another incident included a fight and destruction of property at the restaurant. Officers were also sent to the restaurant and were advised by Los Guerreros security that a person was swinging a beer bottle at the head of another person.
“There was arguing that continued after the officers took both subjects outside,” said Van Winkle. “Things escalated into another disturbance and after officer intervention, it resulted in another officer being grabbed from behind by one of the suspects and assaulted.”
The other officers on scene forcibly took the suspect to the ground and an officer suffered minor injuries in the incident. According to Van Winkle, Grandview Police were notified of another incident from a hospital when they were informed that a patient had been assaulted in Grandview. Witnessed described an altercation that resulted in the victim being run over by a vehicle. The report stated that between forty and fifty people were in the parking lot of Los Guerreros when the incident occurred.
The victim suffered numerous fractures but survived. Another incident included a victim of a shooting who stated that he had been hanging out at Los Guerreros, according to Van Winkle. The victim of the shooting is the same victim who was previously run over by the car.
“It is also believed that he may end up being paralyzed from the shooting,” said Van Winkle.
On September 26, 2015, three months after the expiration of the liquor license for Los Guerreros, Grandview Police Department conducted a series undercover investigations after receiving information that the restaurant was selling alcohol. On some occasions, the officer was told that they weren’t serving alcohol because police were causing them to be more cautious, according to Van Winkle.
“But on this particular occasion, on September 26, at around 11:30 p.m., the undercover officer went in. He had to pay a $10 cover charge to get through the front door,” said Van Winkle.
Once inside, the officer played some pool with several people that were in the bar who were consuming alcohol. The officer was able to purchase a $20 bucket of bottled beer from a bartender. The incident report included a photograph that the undercover officer took that evening of the alcohol he purchased at the establishment.
Both Van Winkle and Schimmel testified before the Board of Aldermen that they feel Los Guerreros is a nuisance to the City of Grandview. Based on the testimony, it was determined that Los Guerreros was selling liquor despite not having a city or state license to do so and it was established that the restaurant is a nuisance and subject to abatement. Ultimately, the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to revoke the business operating license for Los Guerreros.