Las Vegas Sun

August 28, 2015

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Skate park shooting, complaints prompt review of business license

702 Skatepark

A shooting early Sunday morning that injured a 20-year-old woman outside the Area 702 Indoor Skate Park & Skate Shop has prompted North Las Vegas Police to review the business' operating license.

The shooting occurred at 2:07 a.m. Sunday outside the skateboard park toward the end of a late-night concert at the business.

Police spokesman Timothy Bedwell said the shooting victim has been released from University Medical Center, but no suspects have been taken into custody.

The shooting happened in the wake of complaints from nearby business owners about teens and young adults causing problems during the night near the skateboard park, which opened in 2008 and modified its special use permit in January 2010 to include live entertainment at night.

"The problems really arose in about the last few weeks," Bedwell said.

Business owners have complained about large numbers of teens and young adults overwhelming their stores and shoplifting after concerts, Bedwell said. Police estimated 300 to 400 people were at the scene of the shooting Sunday.

In response to complaints, police originally had scheduled a meeting involving Area 702 and local businesses to address concerns and look for solutions, Bedwell said. Police, however, have postponed the meeting while they review the skateboard park's modification to its special use permit adding live entertainment.

Denise Thurtle, who owns the skateboard park with her husband, said she believes their business is meeting the conditions of the permit allowing the indoor live entertainment at night.

Even so, Thurtle said they recently have taken measures to ensure safety, such as hiring an armed security guard to stay until the parking lot clears, notifying police when an event is about to end and screening attendees for weapons and contraband before certain concerts.

"We do everything we can to make sure it's safe here," she said.

Until contacted by police several weeks ago, Thurtle said she didn't realize nearby businesses were experiencing problems after the concerts.

The concerts, which include a variety of music genres, have been popular at the indoor skateboard park, which Thurtle said doesn't serve alcohol or advertise itself as a nightclub atmosphere. Employees check attendees' identifications at late-night concerts to only allow those 18 and older to enter, she said. Concerts earlier in the evening are open to younger guests.

"I'd like to work with (police) as we have been doing," Thurtle said.

In the meantime, Area 702 is implementing an additional safety measure during concerts: no re-entry.

If attendees leave the building, they won't be allowed back in to the live entertainment at night, Thurtle said.

Police said the motive behind Sunday's shooting is unclear. The investigation is ongoing.

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