Early Saturday morning, three people were shot outside the Watusi Lounge, a bar at 46th and Walnut streets.
A fight that began inside the bar ended with a man and two women being shot outside at around 1:45 a.m. The man, 27, was shot in the abdomen and taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is currently in critical condition, according to NBC Philadelphia. The two women, 21 and 24, were bystanders and are being treated for minor wounds.
According to tweets from Philadelphia Police detective Joe Murray, there were over a dozen shots fired, and the suspect is a black male wearing a white dress shirt and tan pants. As of Sunday afternoon, the shooting remains under investigation.
Wharton junior Alex Wiggins was at a party with other Penn students on 46th Street and saw gunshot sparks from the backyard.
“It was just really scary because you heard gunshots but didn’t know if they were actual shots or firecrackers. But then you saw people running and the police showed up, so you knew it was a real shooting,” she said.
“I’m also from Philly, and I’ve never seen anything like that before,” she added.
Owner Noel Karasanyiok also has two other locations in Philadelphia: Watusi II and The Third World Lounge. The bars — not heavily populated by Penn students — have been seen as problem sites in the neighborhood, with nearby residents complaining about noise and violence. Residents are frustrated that despite dozens of 911 calls about Karasanyi’s bars, the city has allowed them to remain operating.
At a joint Spruce Hill and Walnut Hill Community Association meeting on Aug. 22, residents discussed their concerns about Watusi II on 45th and Locust streets, including alleged drug trade, loud music and reports that the pub is serving liquor to customers after 2 a.m.
Neighbors have watched customers smoke pot and carry alcoholic drinks out of the bar to their cars, according to accounts at the meeting. Residents also expressed anger that trash from the bar is being dumped on the sidewalks.
The corporation — headed by Karasanyi — that owns Watusi II owes over $30,000 in taxes on the property, according to Philadelphia Revenue Department records, and has been continually delinquent since at least 1993, a representative from the Revenue Department said at the meeting.
While records show that Karasanyi owes no back taxes on Watusi, the site of the shooting, there have been numerous license violations, including a violation of the city’s trash policy.
A representative from the liquor enforcement branch of the Pennsylvania State Police Department said at the meeting that there are active investigations of all three of the owner’s establishments.
Staff writer Will Marble contributed reporting.
An earlier version of the story incorrectly reported the shooting occurred at 45th and Locust streets.
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