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Police say Tampa officer fires gun amid club chaos

Two men were shot during a brawl early Friday at the Mirage nightclub in Tampa, police said. The suspect was found at a Brandon hospital.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Two men were shot during a brawl early Friday at the Mirage nightclub in Tampa, police said. The suspect was found at a Brandon hospital.

TAMPA — Tampa police are called to the Mirage nightclub so often that for more than a year they've sent up to a dozen officers there at closing time to handle the regular fights and shootings.

Police say they're sick of it.

They want the club's management to hire extra-duty officers as they did from 2004 until the club stopped paying the bill in August 2008.

"They should foot the bill for the level of safety that's required — not the taxpayers," said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

The latest violent brawl at the club at 605 W Hillsborough Ave. sent two shooting victims to a hospital Friday morning. Before fleeing in a vehicle, the shooter pointed a gun at an officer and tried to run over another, police said .

Police tracked down the suspect after he showed up at Brandon Regional Hospital with a gunshot wound to his right arm. He was described by police as combative and uncooperative.

McElroy identified the suspect as Eugene Scurry, 27, of 726 Adams Ave., Tampa. He was charged with two counts of aggravated battery, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. Detectives recovered the vehicle abandoned in the 1100 block of Green Street in West Tampa.

Scurry, in the custody of Hillsborough deputies while being treated at the hospital, would be booked when released, McElroy said.

Police are regularly called to Mirage. From August 2008 to August 2009, there were 137 calls for service — that's about one call for each night the club was open.

So, as a routine policy, between two and a dozen officers patrol the club's parking lot every Thursday through Saturday. They arrive at about 2 a.m. and stay until the crowds dissipate, sometimes hours later, McElroy said.

She had no estimate of how much their presence has cost the city. Hiring an extra-duty officer costs $41 an hour.

Mirage is the only club in Hills­borough County that receives that kind of attention, according to Tampa police and the Sheriff's Office. In Ybor City, officers are assigned to the downtown area, not a specific club, McElroy said.

Friday morning, four officers patrolled Mirage.

They were there when someone shot 30-year-old Tommie Viverette in the stomach and a bullet grazed 27-year-old David Jerome Green's elbow. Police chased the shooter and surrounded him when he got into a car.

The man pointed a gun at one officer, and another, Mark Vazquez, shot at the man, police said.

The shooter turned his car toward Vazquez and hit the 16-year police veteran, bruising his hip and denting his handcuffs, police said.

Earlier this week, Tampa police spoke to the club's management about hiring extra-duty officers again. A man who answered the phone at the club said they have been talking with police, but he hung up. Further attempts to reach club employees were unsuccessful.

McElroy said the department has the option of pushing to close the club and has discussed filing a complaint with the city's nuisance abatement board.

"It's a very laborious process," she said. "It's a last resort for us."

In 2008, federal prosecutors named Mirage as an example of a mob investment founded on dirty money. Indictments filed that year against six people — including alleged Gambino mob boss John A. "Junior" Gotti — listed Mirage as one of the mob's investments.

It's unclear who owns the club. That's being battled in court. Tricia Cadicamo and her brother James V. "Jimmy" Cadicamo claim to own it, and their names appear in state records as principals in the business.

But financier John Edward Alite, in jail awaiting sentencing in Tampa for crimes associated with the Gambino family, claims he made the initial $500,000 investment and owns the club.

He filed a lawsuit in Tampa, claiming that the Cadicamos have been keeping all the revenue.

Times researcher Caryn Baird and staff writers Katie Sanders and Andy Boyle contributed to this report.

Police say Tampa officer fires gun amid club chaos 02/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 5, 2010 11:51pm]
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