The City of Chelsea Licensing Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to revoke Las Palmas Restaurant and Lounges Alcohol and Entertainment Licenses. The business does have a five day appeal period upon receiving the written decision from the city before the sanctions take effect.
Several Chelsea Police officers testified to an incident that occurred at the location on April 3rd, 2015 as well as to subsequent administrative inspections by the police and the Chelsea Fire Department. Those inspections uncovered several violations of the licensing rules and regulations as well as fire code infractions.
The Licensing Commission was presented evidence brought forward by the Chelsea Police Department including a 13 minute audio recording of the events of April 3rd from the 911 call and police radio transmissions.
Chelsea Police officers testified that on April 3rd they arrested Roberto Ortiz, age 19 of 5 Everett Ave Dorchester, after Ortiz reportedly fired a gun at patrons leaving Las Palmas bar, nearly striking several victims. A vehicle in the area that was occupied by two victims was struck twice by bullets. Those victims fearing for their life struck several cars as they tried to flee the area. Witnesses report that Ortiz then carjacked a victim on Central Avenue at gunpoint and ordered the party to drive away from the scene. After a BOLO was issued by Chelsea Police, a Massachusetts State Trooper spotted the victims vehicle on Meridian Street in East Boston where the vehicle refused to stop. The State Trooper reported that he observed the passenger suspect throw an object out the window off of the McArdle Bridge into the Chelsea River; police believe it was the firearm used in the incident. The vehicle was eventually stopped and Ortiz was placed into custody by the Trooper and assisting Boston Police Officers. Ortiz was returned to Chelsea Police Headquarters and booked on several firearm related charges including; Assault to Murder and Kidnapping.
Police testified at the hearing that when they initially arrived, the management of Las Palmas purposely pulled down the locking grates to the front of the business and locked the rear door refusing police entry. A Chelsea officer testified that he could hear people screaming and yelling inside bar and was refused admittance to check on the wellbeing of persons inside. Only after a police supervisor arrived and told management that he would forcibly enter the establishment did the management let officers in to see if any other victims were inside and to begin the preliminary investigation. Officers also testified that management stated that the bars’ surveillance system was not working.
Chief Brian Kyes thanked the several residents who came forward to voice their concerns during the hearing noting that their voice was heard loud and clear. Chief Kyes stated “ All bars in the city should be on notice that the Chelsea Police Department is committed to ensuring all establishments follow the rules and regulations that govern their license” He added “You will see increased inspections in the coming weeks and our officers will not hesitate to take action on any violations”