Police search Goose Creek tavern in kidnapping investigation

Published: Apr. 23, 2012 at 9:53 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:31 PM EDT
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GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - Police say investigators recently served a search warrant at a Summerville tavern where four men claim they and other patrons were held against their will with one assaulted by a bouncer.

Capt. John Grainger with Goose Creek Police Department said on Wednesday that the purpose of the search warrant at the Two Keys Tavern on College Park Road was to "collect and preserve any evidence related to the alleged offenses."

On Saturday morning, four men told investigators that they were held against their will after a manager became angry over an unpaid bet, locked the tavern and ordered a bouncer to assault a man.

The owner of the tavern released a statement on Tuesday stating that a manager and employees have been suspended as police investigate the incident.

"We are doing everything possible to investigate this situation to determine exactly what purportedly happened at Two Keys Tavern on Friday night," Two Keys Tavern owner Mark Keller said in a statement Tuesday night."The manager and employees allegedly involved have been suspended while we look into the allegations and attempt to uncover precisely what happened."

"At this time, we are working to secure a police report, and hope that will also help to clarify what occurred there late Friday night/early Saturday morning," Keller said."Until that time, we can't elaborate further, since we just don't know enough, but we will get to the bottom of it. We have a loyal clientele we value and want to continue to serve. They and others can rest assured that we won't rest until we sort out what exactly happened and get this resolved."

The Goose Creek Police Department responded to Trident Hospital early Saturday morning in reference to an assault that happened at tavern. Officers were informed of the incident after one of the victims called 911 and told emergency personnel that a friend of theirs had been struck at the tavern.

Listen to the 911 audio here. 

Officers met with one of the victims at the hospital who said that he was at the tavern with several of his friends watching other people gamble on pool games.

The victim said one of the patrons made a bet, which was covered by the bar manager, and slipped out of the front door without paying his debt.

According to the victim, the bar manager realized he had not been paid, became irate and ordered the bouncers to lock the tavern doors. The victim said there were 20 people inside the bar including employees when the doors were locked.

A police report states that the bar manager and the bouncers began demanding that someone come up with the money or someone was going to get hurt.

The victim told the officers that he attempted to reason with the bar manager and pleaded that he had only been watching while the bets were made. According to the victim, one of the bouncers asked the manager, "Are you going to give me the green light?"

The manager then reportedly said,"Yes."

The victim said that the bouncer grabbed a pool stick, broke it over one of the pool tables and took the thicker end of the pool stick in his hand.

According to a police report, the bouncer approached the victim's friend from behind and struck him in the back of the head which temporarily rendered him unconscious. The victim said that the bouncer then began chasing another person around the bar, threatening to hit him as well.

Police say the victim took $100 of his own money and threw it on the table. The bouncer then began approaching the victim who then began to point out that he had placed the money on the table.

The bar manager then unlocked the door and told the patrons to get out and not to "(expletive) with the Two Keys," according to police.

The victim said his friend, who was struck by the bouncer, was bleeding heavily from the back of his head and was transported to Trident Hospital. Police spoke to two other witnesses at the hospital who said that they were also forced to pay money to leave the bar.

Investigators then spoke to the victim's friend who had reported being hit by one of the bouncers. Officers say the man's clothing was saturated with blood and he was holding a gauze pad to the back of his head.

The man told police that he and several friends went to the tavern and took part in some pool games earlier in the night, but did not owe anyone any money. He said that as everyone was preparing to leave the bar, the manager ordered the bouncers to lock and guard the door to prevent anyone from leaving.

The victim said the manager began yelling that someone better pay for a bet that was made earlier in the night or someone was going to get hurt. The victim then told the manager that he had no part in the debt that was owed. According to the victim, the manager gave one of the bouncers the "green light."

A police report states that one of the bouncers then grabbed a pool stick, broke it in half and began yelling,"Where is the money?"

The victim said as he continued to plead with the manager, he was struck in the back of the head. According to the victim, the impact knocked him to the ground and he lost consciousness for several seconds.

Police say another bouncer then grabbed the victim by the back of the shirt and asked him, "Where is the money?"

According to the victim, the bouncer went through the victim's pockets and removed cash from his wallet. The victim said once the bouncers collected money, the doors were unlocked and they left.

An officer took a picture of the victim's injury, describing it as a severe laceration 5 inches long and an inch wide. The Goose Creek Police Department is continuing the investigation.

Copyright 2012 WCSC. All rights reserved.