ShareThis Page

Club shooting latest violence on South Side bar circuit

Bob Bauder
| Monday, Oct. 24, 2011

A Pittsburgh city councilman said a weekend shooting at a crowded Station Square nightclub is the latest example of an out-of-control nightlife scene on the South Side.

An unidentified gunman shot two people — a man and a woman — about 1:35 a.m. Saturday inside the Zen Social Club, in the Freight Shops at Station Square. Police estimated 700 people where in the club at the time.

A city police officer directing traffic outside the club was struck about an hour later by a drunken driver, police said.

Police were not releasing the names of the shooting victims on Sunday, but said the man, who suffered four gunshot wounds in the stomach and two in a hand, remained in critical condition. A bullet grazed the woman's leg, they said.

Zone 3 Officer Edward Polly, who suffered back and leg injuries when struck by a sport utility vehicle, was treated at UPMC Mercy, Uptown, but the hospital had no information about his condition. Police said his injuries were not life-threatening.

State police, who witnessed the incident, charged Colin M. Hennen, 27, of the Allentown nieghborhood with drunken driving and aggravated assault. Police reported that Hennen ran a stop sign at West Station Square Drive and struck Polly. He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.191 percent, they said. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Councilman Bruce Kraus, who lives in South Side Flats, said his District 3 office has received numerous complaints about Zen and other Station Square bars. He said the shooting was a symptom of a larger overall problem with people frequenting South Side bars and clubs, especially on weekends.

"This wasn't an isolated incident, and it didn't happen in a vacuum," Kraus said yesterday. "This whole bar scene south of the river is spiraling out of control."

Zen, which opened in 2008, bills itself as the only nightclub in Pittsburgh open until 3:30 a.m., according to its website. Hours are 10 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Management did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.

Forest City Management, which owns the Freight Shops, did not return a phone call.

South Side Flats leads the city in incidents of violent crime — which includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — with 147 reported in 2010, according to Pittsburgh Police Bureau statistics.

Kraus, who introduced legislation early this year earmarking $100,000 to help deal with South Side nightlife, said his office recently met with Forest City representatives to discuss the complaints. He said the representatives were aware of the problems and promised to resolve them.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me