Liquor Authority issues emergency shutdown of Ozone Park watering hole after shooting

The NYPD Crime Scene Unit marks bullet holes near the RRR Lounge following the March 9 shooting.
Photo by Robert Stridiron

RRR Lounge in Ozone Park had its liquor license suspended by the State Liquor Authority after an officer-involved shooting between Anthony Vega, 38, and another individual that led to NYPD officers opening fire and wounding the suspect.

On March 9, cops arrived at the bar, located at 87-18 Liberty Ave., just after the 3:50 a.m. alleged dispute between Vega and another bar patron, as part of a larger brawl, that escalated into the former brandishing a pistol outside the building and opening fire when an off-duty bouncer attempted to wrestle the weapon away, according to the SLA.

“The SLA has zero tolerance for bars where violence is a routine occurrence, threatening the safety of their neighborhoods and straining police resources,” SLA Chair Vincent Bradley said. “This emergency suspension should serve as a message that this agency will not hesitate to take immediate action when a bar poses a threat to public health and safety.”

After shooting the bouncer in the foot, Vega allegedly refused orders from the police to drop the gun and was summarily shot in the torso and leg, the SLA. Vega, who was taken to Jamaica Hospital, faces 10 felony counts regarding reckless endangerment, intent to cause physical injury with a weapon and the top charge of possession of a loaded firearm, according to court records.

According to Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison, three plainclothes officers in an unmarked car who happened to be passing by as the scene occurred recovered 9mm pistol and a knife from the scene. Body camera footage is also part of the investigation into the incident.

The SLA already had proceedings underway to revoke the RRR Lounge’s license for a Jan. 29 stabbing that led to an investigating and the conclusion that the owners were operating disorderly premises, selling to minors and creating excessive noise.

Vega was ordered held by Queens Criminal Court on a $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail and returns to court on March 25 while the RRR Lounge’s owner with have the opportunity to argue his or her case for remaining allowed to sell alcohol in a hearing with the authority.

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