DA closes Levelz bar in South Side of Pittsburgh because of violent incidents
The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office on Friday shut down a South Side bar in which a man is accused of stabbing two people.
District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala said the stabbing last weekend at Levelz Sports Lounge on East Carson Street was one in a “long list” of incidents in the past 18 months, including a brawl in October during which police were forced to use pepper spray.
Zappala spokesman Mike Manko said a meeting with the bar's owners, in an effort to avoid court action, “was not productive.”
Pittsburgh police responded to 33 criminal incidents since January 2011, according to a petition by the district attorney's office to close the bar. Most of the incidents occurred after midnight and involved drunken patrons.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board cited the bar for violations five times since February 2012, issuing fines totaling $9,050.
“The owners of the bar, their employees, and their patrons are responsible for this violence including fighting, assaults and other boisterous conduct and vulgar language,” the petition states.
Levelz owners Mark Heuer, Joseph Molinaro, David Pietrantoni and Drew Ziccardi could not be reached.
Their attorney, Charles Caputo, said the bar was cited for minor offenses such as noise violations and the owners were good stewards until the stabbing.
“It's such a highly and heavily regulated industry that once you're put under the microscope, when all the eyes are on you, you tend to get cited for things that other bars are not,” Caputo said.
He plans to discuss with Zappala's office what his clients must do in order to reopen, at least until an Aug. 16 hearing to decide whether the bar should permanently close.
“We may be able to work something out between now and the 16th, and if not, then we'll let the judge decide.”
Councilman Bruce Kraus praised Zappala for taking nuisance bars seriously and said the bar's closure “sends a clear message” to liquor license owners.
“Anyone who chooses the responsibility of owning an alcohol license, you have to manage it in a lawful and responsible manner, and if you choose not to do so, steps will be taken to make certain you are not operating in the city,” Kraus said.
Manko said his office has been formulating a plan to deal with the bar since July 27, when police charged Manuel Carde Freiria, 41, of the South Side with stabbing an off-duty Levelz employee and a man who tried to intervene.
Freiria, charged with aggravated assault, attempted homicide, reckless endangerment and simple assault, was jailed on $1 million bail.
Adam Brandolph is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Elsie Hillman, philanthropist and one-time GOP powerhouse, dies at 89
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Inbound Parkway West to close Friday night through early Monday
- Homeless man who stabbed 3 going to mental hospital before prison
- Uniontown man shot in head during home invasion still in coma, police seek 3 suspects
- Rossi: Pirates foolish to bet on Burnett return
- FNB buying Harrisburg-based Metro Bancorp
- Westmoreland girl tells trooper a stranger fondled her in Herminie alley
- U.S. Appeals Court reduces damages in Carnegie Mellon patent infringement case
- Man accused of killing Brookline woman denied bail
- Steelers notebook: No decision on surgery for rookie CB Golson