Action News Jax investigates Jacksonville bar security following deadly shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is searching for the people responsible for a deadly shooting at LIVE Bar in Downtown Jacksonville.

Police said two people were shot during the sold-out Christmas party around 11:30 p.m. One man died from his injuries. Family said he went by Johnny Johnson, a Jacksonville father of three.

His family did not want to speak on camera but told Action News Jax reporter Elizabeth Pace, “He was a good person, didn’t mess with anyone.”

JSO has not released information on a possible suspect or motive. However, they said they are searching for a yellow sports car as a vehicle of interest. A witnesses reported it leaving the bar after the shooting.

“It’s hard losing a loved one and on Christmas Day,” Bar promoter, Lexi said. “We apologize. From the LIVE Bar family we apologize to the families.”

Action News Jax spoke to an assistant manager, who goes by the name Rent Man. Thursday, he said the bar hires two off-duty JSO officers for security every weekend. Action News Jax confirmed it through JSO records. However, Rent Man said someone dropped the ball on security for their Christmas event.

“It had to be a mix-up because in our system we have them down to be here,” He said. “But last night, somebody dropped the ball somewhere. So we’re going to have a meeting about that.”

Because of less security, the bar staff said their normal pat-downs were cut in half.

“We usually do go two, you get touched twice,” Rent Man said. “You get searched when you first come and then again. Last night (Wednesday), we went one search and we see what happened when we changed our system up. So now we have to change our system up totally.”

JSO confirmed the department had off-duty officers scheduled to work the bar for security for the Christmas event. However, they were requested to be at the business at 12:30 a.m., an hour after the deadly shooting happened inside the bar.

The bar manager did not respond to our request for comment on this new information.

Action News Jax found 59 calls of service were made at this bar over the past two years. It includes dispute, noise complaint, fight, theft, and suspicious person.

According to city records, three complaints were filed against the bar in 2018, including operating without a Certificate of Use. However, all three cases were dismissed. Action News Jax also requested the inspection reports but have not heard back from the city yet.

The bar is now closed for the weekend. The manager said it’s out of respect for the victim and his family. When they open again next week, they said they will have additional security and possibly metal detectors.

Any person or organization can request for officers to work off-duty in a security/traffic function. JSO said an application would need to be filled out for the individual/business requesting for approval. There are stipulations as to what the specific job function the officers can perform.

According to the city, a permit holder must maintain several security devices and standards, including a security camera system and silent alarm system capable of notifying law enforcement. It also reads in part, “During nighttime hours when the premise is open for business and where there are more than five pieces of Electronic Equipment on the Premises, at least one licensed, armed security guard. The fact that a licensed armed security guard may not be required, is not intended to immunize of forgive a Permit Holder from any statutory or common law obligation to maintain reasonably safe premises at any time."