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Chicho's changes time for 'last call' following quintuple shooting in March

The owners made their case in front of Norfolk City Council, saying they want to be part of the solution to the recent string of violence downtown.

NORFOLK, Va. — Chicho’s Pizza in Downtown Norfolk told the mayor and members of city council that they’ve made security changes to their bar since someone shot five people right outside.

Six months ago, a man shot and killed Virginian-Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkins, semi-professional football player Malik Harris, and Marquel Andrews outside of the bar. He injured two others.

Norfolk police have since arrested 24-year-old Antoine Legrande Jr.

Police maintain the shooting stemmed from an argument inside over a spilled drink.

RELATED: Man arrested for Granby Street shooting that killed Virginian-Pilot reporter, along with two others

Since the beginning of the year, 15 people have been shot in Downtown Norfolk.

Earlier this month, Norfolk City Manger Chip Filer gave businesses a warning.

"Every establishment in the entertainment district downtown should begin preparing to come to this council and explain why they should continue to operate downtown," he said. "Operating in Downtown Norfolk is a privilege."

RELATED: City cracks down on businesses after overnight shooting in Downtown Norfolk

Tuesday night, the owners of Chicho’s spoke before council, seemingly making their case.

"It’s a privilege to operate in Downtown Norfolk and Chicho’s will be open to any reasonable and practical solutions offered by the city," said Louie Ochave.

They said since that night, they’ve made about $30,000 worth of upgrades, including adding and upgrading cameras and tripling security officers on the weekend.

Notably, they’re also pushing "last call" 30 minutes earlier at 1 a.m.

"Chicho’s voluntarily closes early around 1 a.m. to stagger closing times for other nearby conditional use permit holders," said Rory Schindel.

Britney Nevels-Jones said knowing businesses downtown are taking safety seriously puts her at ease, especially since she and her fiancé are getting married downtown in a few months.

"For those of us who have moved away and like to come to vacation back here, it’s nice to know we have a safe place to come back to," she said.

Carlos Antonio said while he’s happy Chicho’s and other businesses are increasing security, he’s not too happy with Filer’s warning.

"Shootings happen everywhere, you know, so to make a business prove why they should be there because of something that happened outside of their control is a little bit much," he said.

Kyyana Smith and Cassiah Story said they’re still careful coming downtown at night, no matter what changes are made.

"I feel like it's a team effort type thing, so it's going to take more than just Chicho's that has to cooperate, more with the other places within the area as well," said Smith.

RELATED: Norfolk city leaders install new mobile surveillance cameras downtown

While 200 officers short, Norfolk police shifted resources in the spring to have more officers patrolling downtown on weekends. They also have large cameras stationed around the area.

RELATED: More police patrol Downtown Norfolk as the weekend begins

Filer says they’re doing everything they can on their end and now it’s time for the businesses to take some responsibility.

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