LAKE OZARK, Mo. — Lake Ozark city officials met with approximately 40 business owners and managers on Tuesday, to talk problems and solutions, in the aftermath of the deadly shooting on The Strip last week.
In that incident, on Thursday, July 15, multiple motorcycle clubs became involved in a brawl on the front porch of Casablanca restaurant & bar. The fight escalated into a gun battle that spilled into the street with approximately 20 shots fired. As a result, a local man was killed and four others were injured.
The city's Tuesday meeting of Lake Ozark businesses that hold city/state liquor licenses. “This is an opportunity for you to have input and be involved in the solutions,” City Administrator Dave Van Dee told the estimated 40 business owners and managers.
Lake Ozark Police Chief Gary Launderville told the group that Bike Night, which occurs the third Thursday of the month during the summer, has been cancelled for the balance of the year. Sponsor Benne Media has withdrawn its sponsorship.
One point of discussion was local and state laws.
•Motorcycle club/gang activity
•Stricter enforcement of existing ordinances including disorderly conduct within an establishment
•Reducing public intoxication
•Enforcing occupancy limits
•Increased business security with qualified individuals or security companies
•Open container violations
•Possible increase in Driving While Intoxicated (DUI) checkpoints
•Overserving of alcohol to patrons
•Underage serving of alcohol and fake IDs
City Officials Urge Businesses To Act
City officials noted that while there are several state laws and ordinances in place that help regulate activity within the community, it’s ultimately up to each business owner/manager to control the type of clientele that enters their business and to regulate the conduct of their customers. They pointed out local and state laws can help with that.
“We are going to do what we can to keep this type of incident outside of the city of Lake Ozark,” Police Chief Gary Launderville said. “Do we really want to allow them (motorcycle gangs) to take over our businesses and our city? Do you think people will continue to come here and visit our community?”
The chief urged cooperation between business owners, the Lake Ozark Police Department and the city.
“A few businesses have welcomed them into their business, catered to them and in some cases allowed them to take over your bar,” he noted. “It’s your establishment. If you want them coming in and taking over, that’s on you, but it affects the rest of the city.”
“The LOPD will work with you for the betterment of the entire city, but the LOPD cannot lead this change by itself,” he added. “We can if we work together, and you must step up as well. We must work together.”
Mayor Dennis Newberry then stood up. He applauded local law enforcement, saying the Lake Ozark Police Department “did a wonderful job” in the aftermath of the shooting. He also asked the business owners and managers in the room for their thoughts and feedback, emphasizing he wanted the city to hear from them. "They started talking," he told LakeExpo in an interview after the meeting (LakeExpo was not informed about nor invited to the meeting). Newberry said many business representatives spoke up and the feedback was instructive for city leaders as the continue to formulate a plan for what's next.
“It’s critical we have a working partnership with our businesses and look at this as a team effort to be successful,” he said. “It’s my intent to grow the relationship between City Hall and the business community.”