The owner of a Vernon nightclub is condemning the actions of participants in a brawl outside his establishment Sunday morning.
Saverio Loria was reacting to a 66-second video clip taken on the side street outside his club, Status Nightclub, by an individual who posted the scene, showing numerous altercations, on Facebook. The video was later posted to media outlet websites – including The Morning Star – before the video was removed.
The video showed disturbing scenes of individuals being kicked while in prone positions on the ground, along with men and women engaging in fisticuffs.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s not what I want to see,” said Loria, who returned to Vernon nearly two years ago from Vancouver to open Status.
The club was hosting Canadian rapper Merkules, and several other acts, Saturday. The show ended at approximately 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The fights, Loria said, started about 15-to-20 minutes later. He is adamant the participants were not Status patrons, and that no fights took place in the facility.
“Nothing started inside,” he said. “The fights were at the side of our building; we couldn’t see it. It was on the video when I saw all of the fights.”
Loria believes the fight participants met on the side street from another Vernon venue.
He said he had eight security guards, including himself, working inside the club, as well staff at the club’s entrance and coat check. Nightclub security, he said, must stay inside the facility for liability issues.
“I can’t be pulling my guys from inside to go out, they’re not covered to be out there,” said Loria. “It’s policy.”
Club security, said Loria, are trained to assess situations, make a plan and act. He told one of his guards to call 911 when he got word of the fights. Police, Loria said, arrived “two-to-three-minutes later.”
Loria has been operating nightclubs for more than 30 years. He moved back to Vernon, he said, “to do his best to give Vernon more nightlife; to prevent people from going to Kelowna.”
“We’ve done a lot of good stuff here,” said Loria, referring to events like Saturday’s appearance by Merkules, part of a 40-city tour of Western Canada and Ontario.
Loria is bringing in Canadian punk band DOA later this month, hosting a fundraiser for a local charity, as well as hosting an after-party for a local business. Inside the club, Loria has installed an identification scanner system where a patron scans their ID to get a picture. The system holds the information for 24 hours. It’s an effort, he said, to provide a safe environment.
The brawl Saturday won’t discourage him from hosting future events.
“Not at all,” said Loria. “I’ve been doing this for 33 years.”
There was a second incident outside Status Saturday, involving the Surrey Creep Catchers, a group that, according to its website, is affiliated with Creep Catchers Canada “that takes time out of there (SIC) day-to-day lives to go online in social media rooms posing as underage children looking for potential predators.
A member of Surrey Creep Catchers posted his exchange with a man outside Status on social media.
Loria said the two events were unrelated.
RCMP, meanwhile, say they are investigating the fight which resulted with one individual being taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
Police responded to the club just before 1 a.m., saying they arrived “a minute after the initial call.”
“The incident had subsided prior to police attendance with many of those involved already having fled,” said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. “On arrival, a 20-year-old male was located on the ground with several other males tending to him.”
The man had a cut to his face, causing a substantial amount of bleeding, and he was taken by ambulance to VJH.
“The male was subsequently released from hospital, and, due to his level of intoxication, taken into custody by the RCMP until he could care for himself. He was subsequently released the next morning,” said Moskaluk.
The investigation into the incident continues. Anyone with information or having witnessed the fighting, is asked to call Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP at 250-545-7171 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.