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Restaurant/Bar Owner Speaks Out Following Shooting

Reported: Jan. 4, 2014 9:47 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 4, 2014 9:57 PM EST
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CROSS LANES, W.Va. (Katy Brown) The owner of Appetizer's and Shep's Lounge in Cross Lanes is speaking out and staying optimistic after a shooting outside of his building.

Mike Shepherd told Eyewitness News he hopes the community has not lost faith in him or his business..

Shepherd apologized apologized for the shooting that happened outside his restaurant.

"The bottom line is I'm saddened and alarmed by this incident or altercation that took place here,” he said. “It's not the type of establishment that I run and it's definitely not anything this community wants to put up with."

After a private Christmas party held at bar attached to Appetizer's, Shep's Lounge, dozens of gunshots were fired, car windows shattered and one man, Carlo Gray, 22, was sent to the hospital with a gunshot to the leg.

"In this community, any way you look at it, Appetizer's has a black eye," Shepherd said.
Since the incident, the restaurant and Shep's Lounge have been closed and is currently serving its second liquor license suspension handed down by the ABCA, as the shooting investigation continues.

"I've lost product,” Shepherd said. “I've lost revenues. I've lost employees. And I've lost credibility."

Recently, bars across the region have become shooting crime scenes, from Shoops in Huntington, to the more recent shooting outside of Charleston's Recovery bar grill.

And, like at Recovery, the shooting at Appetizers and Shep's happened outside the building.

But Shepherd said, regardless of the similarities between the two, the aftermath of the incidents were handled differently by investigators and the ABCA.

"I would expect them to be consistent and that place should have been shut down,” Shepherd said. “However, they never lost a minute of their business operations."

Now with his doors temporarily shut, and facing losses in business and credibility, Shepherd says all he can do is hope the community can forgive him for the unexpected and unfortunate incident.

"I'll probably make a solid statement in saying that Shep's Lounge no longer exists,” he said. “You know that's not what Appetizer's is about. We want to continue to be a part of your community. Give me the opportunity to show you."

And something to keep in mind when comparing the two shootings at Recovery and Appetizers - while they were both outside the businesses, Recovery had been closed for several hours before the incident happened.

And while Appetizers and Shep's are two different businesses, and appetizers was closed, they share the same building and owner.



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