Massive fight, gun shots rare along Chippewa, police, business owners say

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo police say they’re asking the city’s licensing agency and the state liquor authority to look into possible violations from Monday morning’s melee on Chippewa Street.

But business owners, city leaders and even police say violence along Buffalo’s entertainment district is rare.

“We used to have a lot more problems on the Chippewa strip before we made this an entertainment district, really limited the co-mingling activities,” said Ellicott District Councilman and Council President Darius Pridgen. “So I think what you saw was an isolated event, unfortunately, that I really don’t want to reflect Chippewa or the establishment, because they have been cooperative with our office when we’ve asked them to make changes.”

That establishment is The Lodge, which has hosted monthly DJ parties similar to Sunday’s nearly a dozen times, according to restaurant managers. They said the incident that happened just after 3 a.m. Monday was a first.

Shots rang out on Chippewa near Delaware Avenue after 3 a.m., scattering hundreds of people who had spilled out onto the street for a fight.

Buffalo police were already on site, after having responding to the call for a large fight. Most of those involved, according to police, were coming from The Lodge, which was hosting a promotional party that started late Sunday.

Police said only one person was injured in the fight, and that no one was hit with any stray bullets.

Officers scoured the area after the crowd was broken up, and they were able to collect a few shell casings to help in the investigation. They’re also reviewing extensive surveillance video from city-owned police cameras and from nearby businesses.

Pridgen said he introduced legislation years ago to require businesses that host large gatherings to register the events with the city. The resolution was approved, but has yet to be written in the books as law.

Pridgen says now is the time to revisit that decision.

“I think that’s important for the clubs, other parties and really growing Buffalo,” he said. “This is a new problem to have, to have so many events all over the city, but the Buffalo Police Department can not be expected to know if they’re not informed.”

Police normally have a large presence along Chippewa, especially on Friday and Saturday night’s. Sunday’s are the exception.

“We’ve had our Chippewa detail out there for 10 years on Friday and Saturday nights,” said Buffalo Police District B Chief Joseph Gramaglia. “Sunday is typically a non-existent night, very quiet and most establishments would be closed on a Sunday night.”

Jennifer Keppard is one of the owners of Tap House Pub & Grill, located next door to The Lodge. She was surprised to hear things go so out of hand so quickly Monday morning.

“I think it’s kind of an anomaly for the area,” she said. “We usually don’t see things like that in this area. I think things have been really good.”

She says businesses along Chippewa work well together, and she appreciates the security provided by Buffalo police.

“We see police forces present down here constantly, and I frankly feel very safe down here,” she said. “I don’t have any problems.”

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