L'Treyns bar owner speaks out on viewer comments

Police have yet to make any arrests after a Keokuk shooting early Saturday morning. Police Chief Tom Crew has released few details on the case to the public regarding the number of people involved in the shooting or any descriptions of a shooter(s). But as KHQA found out from the bar's owner, the case could soon be coming to a close.

Larry Roberts was uncomfortable speaking in front of the camera but spoke with KHQA earlier Wednesday at his home, just blocks away from the L'Treyns bar. He wanted to address some comments generated from KHQA's initial story on the shooting.

One viewer wrote: "Why has everyone assumed it is outsiders that did this? Keokuk has plenty of guys (or girls for that matter) that would not hesitate to end an argument with firearms. Lets quit blaming it on the bar or out-of-towners until all the facts are in!"

Roberts says one man started the fight within the bar. The fight lasted only two minutes before bar staff separated two groups of people, a local crowd and an out of town crowd. After staff members broke up the scene, Roberts says one group went outside to their cars. At that point, shots were fired. Roberts also confirms a "Hip Hop" event had taken place earlier that night, but ended forty minutes prior to the fight.

A viewer by the name of ex military police wrote: "The owner had no way of knowing this was going to happen, and neither did the police dept. Blaming it on "out of towners" isn't reall fair either. Small towns don't generally have these type of problems. That is why the Police dept. isn't quite as prepared for something like this. They are doing the best they can. They have limited resources. The real ones to blame would be the eye witnesses who actually saw it and chose NOT to say anything."

Roberts says even without the help from witnesses, surveillance videos facing inside the bar allowed investigators close ups of just about every person who walked inside. From witness accounts, Robert says that's enough evidence to determine which people were involved in the fight. The security camera does not face the street, so investigators were not able to see events taken place outside the bar. Roberts believes police could catch their guy in a matter of a week or so.

Larry Roberts also had some pretty strong accusations toward the city.

"Tom Crew has had it in for me from the getgo," said Roberts. "his first words to me when I started plans for this bar were, 'I'm gonna shut you down.'"

Roberts continued to tell KHQA he believes the city's hype over his bar is a racial issue.

"When Crew got to the scene of the shooting, he looked at me straight in the eye and said, 'This is what you get when you put groups of these people in one place,'" said Roberts. "Crew wants me to pick and choose the type of people that come in here. You just can't do that."

KHQA also spoke with Keokuk's Mayor Tom Marion. He says he does not believe race applies to this case and knew nothing about the tensions between Roberts and Crew. KHQA also tried contacting Chief Crew, but he had left the office for the day. KHQA will continue its efforts in speaking with the chief on this issue.

Keokuk police claim the L'Treyns Bar has been a problem in the past regarding noise violations. Roberts says he's kept to the city's codes on both occupancy levels and noise. The second floor's capacity limit is 85, a number he said was not breached Saturday. Roberts said eight people were staffed at the bar that morning to handle the crowd.

"It's a shame this happened and unfortunate, but it was an isolated event," said Roberts. "It could have happened anywhere."