From fights to noise to parking violations, most neighbors know about the wide array of problems surrounding OT Tavern on Lower Greenville. Five years ago, a man was murdered in the OT Tavern parking lot, and the shooter received an 8-year-sentence.
So why would anyone want to live nearby? The walkable neighborhood has a lot to offer with a plethora of shops, restaurants and nightlife. But a recent shooting has once again brought public safety to the fore.
Officers responded to a shooting at 1:05 a.m. Oct. 10 in the 3600 block of Greenville Ave, near OT Tavern and Bar 3606. A vehicle passing by fired at another vehicle and hit a woman. While officers were administering aid, another shooting occurred in the parking lot. No one was hurt in the second round of gunfire, but many neighbors said stray bullets hit their cars and homes.
Emily Tice was at Snuffer’s celebrating a friend’s birthday the night of the shooting. She had parked in the lot behind the restaurant and then rode with a friend to another location, where they stayed until about 1:45 a.m. She used a rideshare service to get home and left her car in the parking lot near Snuffer’s. When she went to pick it up the next morning, she discovered a broken window and 10 bullet holes in the body of her vehicle.
“Initially, I was like someone broke into my car,” Tice said. “It wasn’t until I walked up to my car that I noticed the bullet holes. At first I thought it was a little bit of damage, but then the shock wore off and more shock set in. Then it’s like, ‘Holy crap, my car has bullet holes.'”
She found a live round in the front seat and called 911. That’s when she found out about the shooting. After waiting two hours for authorities to arrive, she had to wait several more hours for detectives to process evidence. She still does not have her car, more than a week after the shooting. The remaining bullets need to be removed for evidence before the damage can be assessed.
Tice, who moved to the neighborhood about two months ago, was not previously aware of the violence in the area.
“Had I known that, I wouldn’t have left my car there,” she said. “My friends just kept talking about how different it might have been had I gone to go get my car. I could have been there at the same time [as the shooting].”
Jacob Broom has lived near Greenville Avenue and Anita Street for about three years. He knew the bar was there, but he didn’t know the problems that stemmed from it. He is one of several neighbors who has endured the noise, overcrowding and parking violations. But after the shooting, he emailed his city councilman, David Blewett.
“It’s not a single accident,” Broom said. “It’s been months and years. Nothing has changed. I hate the idea of someone shutting someone’s business down, and I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old man. I’m 30. I still go to the bars and walk home. When these problems are stemming from one or two places, I think safety should trump all.”
Grievances against the establishment waned somewhat while bars were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. In August, OT Tavern reclassified as a restaurant and reopened under new Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission rules.
“I would argue that it’s worse than ever,” Broom said. “People have been cooped up. People think they can go to OT and not abide by mask rules. It’s not enforced. For the troublemakers, they know they can go there and face no consequences.”
Broom knows the progress Lower Greenville has made in transforming itself into a vibrant community. He loves the walkability of the neighborhood, as well as the restaurants and entertainment options. But more work must be made toward solving the OT Tavern problem so the violence doesn’t creep into the entire neighborhood, he said.
“I don’t want to move, but we’re about to have a baby,” Broom said. “If this is a type of thing that becomes normal, then I don’t see how we would have a choice.”
OT Tavern did not immediately return a request for comment.
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