LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A west Louisville event space says the night club's days are over after recent violence outside the establishment.
Around 3 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to reports that two men were shot outside the Cole's Event Center on West Kentucky Street. Those victims, 26-year-old Robert Webb Jr. and 29-year-old Juan Foster, died from their injuries. To date, no one has been arrested for the crime.
Owner John Cole said he's now closing his doors and may sell the property to a developer. The 63-year-old old said even though the victims didn't get shot in his venue, the business is always getting blamed for the violence nearby with gangs in the area.
He said the club formerly known as Cole's Place, open since 2006, has done a lot for the community, helping children try to get their lives on track and providing programs for the community.
But after their closure announcement was made, the business said several people contacted them wanting them to stay open. Cole said he and his father are rethinking their business plans.
"It's easy to point fingers at the situation than pointing fingers at why it happened." Cole said. "We spend almost $2,000 on security each weekend. It's no other club that spends that much on security. We spend that and stuff still happens."
Cole said they've also had three police officers outside the venue on weekends and hire several people to work at the facility.
"At first, we were planning to sell the property," Cole said, adding that after the announcement, his phone kept ringing with people saying how much they rely on that community space.
The Cole family often lets people use the space for memorial services, not charging the community. So the family said it's deciding if they want to keep the property and just put it to a different use to cater to a different crowd.
But now, they want to change their focus so there isn't any more of a night business. Cole said they've done so much in the past, from youth programs, banquets, kids' parties, etc. They wanted to charge $5 just to cover the weekly bounce houses, but people couldn't afford that, and the event became free for the community.
Now, they want to get grants and help from the city to build up this area. Cole said dreaming big, he want a sports complex on their site, a place kids can go. Cole already coaches kids in several sports.
Barbara Foster said her daughter's ex-boyfriend, Webb, enjoyed hanging out at Cole's. Her family is forever changed after Webb was shot and killed. She started a GoFundMe page to help out with expenses.
Foster said she supports Cole's being closed, especially during a pandemic.
"I have grandkids. He was a big part of their life," she said. "He had 3 children, two girls and a boy, ages 1, 4, 5."
"We just got a bad name because of the actions of others that took place in our facility," Cole added. "We are just going to keep helping people."
And while families grieve over the violence in the community, they hope for a new beginning and for the shootings and violence to stop.
"It's heartbreaking," Foster said. "I feel like he didn't deserve this. It's taking a toll on the whole family."
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.