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Columbia closes bar where they say gangs gather

COLUMBIA (AP) — Columbia officials have closed a bar the sheriff says a gang has used as a hangout.

City officials moved in on the bar formerly known as The Library around 1 a.m. Sunday and closed it because they say it was operating without a proper permit, The State newspaper  reported.

Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins says the club was serving alcohol, a DJ was playing music and a doorman was selling tickets.

Jenkins says the bar no longer uses The Library name and signs with the name have been removed. He says since the name has changed, the business license is no longer valid.

The Library owner Justin Kershner told the newspaper the club was closed.

“He said he was not open. However, he was serving alcohol,” Jenkins said.

The music, alcohol and the doorman with a money box gave the city’s Hospitality Task Force enough reason to go inside, he said. About 15 to 20 people were inside when officials told everyone to leave.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says The Library is a hangout for a street gang. Lott said the club should be closed.

Kershner told the newspaper early Sunday that he wanted to change the club’s image and then be left alone so he could run his business.

City officials have been working to combat violence in the area that is popular with students at the nearby University of South Carolina, as well as others.

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