Liquor license suspended indefinitely for Jammerz Bar

The liquor license for Jammerz Bar was indefinitely suspended three days after the mass shooting that killed three and critically injured one person. Photo by David Abbott.

The liquor license for Jammerz Bar has been suspended indefinitely, following the Nov. 11 mass shooting that ultimately left three people dead and one other critically injured.

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, John Cocca, director of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control (AZDLLC), issued an order summarily suspending the liquor license for Jammerz, at 598 N. Broad St., in Globe, said Assistant Director Jeffery Trillo, with the AZDLLC’s Licensing and Administration Division.

The suspension was issued to Top Note, LLC, doing business as Jammerz, whose agent is Sara Hardy.

Trillo said that Cocca had issued the Nov. 14 order after finding that the “public health, safety and welfare imperatively required emergency action.”

“The order requires Jammerz to ‘cease all liquor sales and liquor licensed activity,’ but does not prevent it from conducting other business,” he told the Silver Belt.

Due to the ongoing investigation, the AZDLLC declined further comment at this time, said Trillo, deferring to the Globe Police Department as the lead investigative agency.

“Questions related to the criminal case should be directed there,” he said.

Contacted last week, Globe Chief of Police Dale Walters said, “We had nothing to do with the decision to suspend and will not make comments on it. You will have to go through the state liquor control.”

Trillo did, however, supply the Silver Belt with a copy of the five-page order.

It states that the assailant (22-year-old Sterling Randall Hunt, of Globe) had been drinking at Jammerz Bar the evening of Sunday, Nov. 11.

After consuming “multiple drinks” and closing out his tab, Hunt returned to the bar seeking another drink, only to be told that his tab was closed, and he would therefore need to provide a method of payment.

Upset about having to open a new tab, Hunt became disorderly, the order states. The only employee on duty that night told Hunt that he had to leave the bar due to his disorderly conduct.

The employee also determined that Hunt was intoxicated at the time. Despite the determination, however, “the employee did not attempt to secure transportation” for Hunt, nor “take any other steps” beyond asking Hunt to leave, the order states.

A few minutes after leaving the bar, Hunt returned, approaching a group of patrons and “promptly shot one individual at point-blank-range in the head, before turning his gun on other patrons,” the order states. “During this time, the sole employee on duty was outside of the licensed premises smoking marijuana, leaving no on-duty employee inside the establishment while it was open for business.”

Based upon the findings, Cocca determined that “the public health, safety and welfare imperatively required emergency action,” ordering Jammerz’ liquor license to be “summarily suspended,” pending “revocation, suspension or other action” by the department.

The order also states that a hearing would be “promptly instituted and determined.”

Contacted last week, Hardy’s attorney, Peter H. Schelstraete, with the Tempe-based Schelstraete Law Offices, said, “Upon best information and belief, the employee did not smoke marijuana, but was on break right before the shooting.

“Our position is there is nothing the bar could have done to avoid this senseless act and the owner is emotionally distraught over the loss of life,” he told the Silver Belt. “The action of the AZDLLC to summarily suspend the liquor license is both overly harsh and completely unwarranted.”

Schelstraete provided the Silver Belt with a copy of the Nov. 16 appeal.

It states that Cocca imposed the Nov. 14 summary suspension upon Hardy “without notice or hearing” and without “incorporating any findings or allegations of future public harm demanding such emergency action.”

The appeal also states that Cocca’s decision was “unsupported by any competent evidence,” and based on past events that did not give “any predictive cause to believe that there would be eminent harm to the public imperatively requiring emergency action.”

Schelstraate’s appeal states that Cocca’s decision violated state law requiring “a notice and a hearing prior to any suspension order being decided and ordered by the director.”

The appeal also states that Cocca’s decision “unfairly and unnecessarily violated” Hardy’s rights to due process, as it was made without notice and hearing.

Calling the decision “arbitrary and capricious,” Schelstraete said that Cocca had initiated the “unwarranted sanction based on past events and has not articulated how such past events warrant such an unduly harsh treatment” of Hardy.

It also appears to hold Hardy “responsible for completely unforeseeable acts of other persons,” as well as “applying a standard that no licensee can meet.”

Asked if a hearing for Jammerz Bar had been scheduled, Trillo replied, “It is premature to speculate next steps. The investigation is still early and ongoing.”

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