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I’m starting to get concerned, I walked past Primo’s today

I walked past 1520 Arrott Street, former Primo’s Sports Bar, today and saw a police car stopped halfway through Griscom Street blocking Arrott Street and was talking to someone that came out of the building for a little while.  Then ANOTHER police truck stops and starts talking to them again a couple minutes later.  All while I’m waiting five minutes for the bus.  I got a pic of the cop car as my bus drove by:

I have no idea what they were talking about but it can’t be a good omen.

13 thoughts on “I’m starting to get concerned, I walked past Primo’s today

  1. Given the history of this place you should be very afraid.

  2. lyndad Says: “Given the history of this place you should be very afraid.”

    Ah, Yes – History. A rather boring subject, and this is a long read.

    German philosopher, Heinrich Marx once said: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

    American philosopher George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    Here is the history – read it – don’t forget it:

    Drugs cited in Frankford shooting Two children and two adults were wounded in gunfire near a sports bar. Two men were arrested; a third is sought.
    March 31, 2006|By Barbara Boyer INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

    A spray of bullets outside a Frankford bar yesterday morning left two young boys and two adults critically injured in what one police official called a “frightening situation.”

    The boys, ages 7 and 10; a customer, 25; and a bar employee, 18, were injured at 1:15 a.m. when gunshots erupted, possibly as the result of a drug dispute at Primo’s Sports Bar & Grill at Griscom and Arrott Streets, police said.
    It does not appear any of the victims, whose names were not released, was the intended target, said Chief of Detectives Joseph Fox. All are expected to survive.

    Two officers on patrol arrested Anthony Sharpe, 19, of the 1200 block of North 30th Street, and David Hollaway, 22, of the 100 block of West Ashdale Street. Authorities were looking for a third suspect.

    The boys were in a car with two other children, who were not seriously injured, Fox said during an afternoon news conference as investigators pieced together what happened and sorted through conflicting statements.

    “As to why this incident occurred, to the best of our knowledge, it is directly involved in narcotic activity,” Fox said.

    “They were innocent kids in the back of the car who were brought to that location by people who are, in fact, involved in that type of activity.”
    An argument and shooting were reported at the bar about 12:45 a.m., and police were called.

    Afterward, police said they were told that the men who later unleashed a barrage of bullets had argued in the bar with a man believed to be the father of at least one of the wounded children. When the men were leaving, someone fired shots at them.

    The men returned shortly after 1 a.m. in a minivan, Fox said.

    By that time, a woman – with her four children – arrived to pick up one of the barroom combatants. She parked her vehicle on the 4700 block of Griscom and waited for him.

    When one of the men from the bar made his way to the woman’s vehicle, the men in the minivan realized that they just crossed paths with the man they were after, Fox said. They backed up and opened fire with a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle similar to an AK-47.

    The man then went in the direction of the bar, police said. He was not hit. Neither was the woman behind the wheel. She was not identified.

    Apr 6, 2006 – the following week in the Northeast Times:

    Bar gone bad

    By William Kenny
    Times Staff Writer

    Four people, including two children, were wounded critically in a hail of gunfire last Thursday at a Frankford bar where a former owner was shot to death in 1999 during an apparent robbery attempt.

    Philadelphia police believe that the drug trade played a direct role in the 1:15 a.m. attack, in which three men allegedly used an AK-47 assault rifle, a shotgun and possibly a handgun to fire an undetermined number of shots outside of Primo’s Sports Bar & Grill at 1520 Arrott St.

    The wounded youths, a 7-year-old boy and a 10-year-old boy, were two of four children sitting inside a car parked outside the bar at the time, said Chief Inspector Joseph Fox, who commands the police department’s detectives bureau.

    The younger boy was hit in the face, while the older boy was hit in the back.
    The children’s mother was also in the car and reported no injuries, Fox said. Her 5-month-old son was injured when broken glass cut him, while her 8-year-old daughter had no reported injuries.

    Meanwhile, a 23-year-old male bar patron and a 19-year-old female bar employee were also wounded when bullets penetrated a window and a door and entered the troubled taproom. The patron was also hit in the back; the bartender was struck in the left leg.

    As the Times went to press, all four shooting victims were listed in stable condition at city hospitals and were expected to survive. None were apparent targets of the gunmen. Police have not identified the victims.

    Responding 15th district police officers arrested two of the three suspects near the scene, after they attempted to flee in a van and crashed it into a pole, Fox said.

    The alleged shooters were David Hollaway, 22, of the 4600 block of Leiper St. in Frankford, and Anthony Sharpe, 19, of the 1200 block of N. 30th St. in the Brewerytown section of North Philadelphia. Both have been charged with four counts of aggravated assault and related offenses.

    Fox described the at-large suspect as a male who is “very, very light-skinned,” 18 to 25 years of age and 5-feet-11. He had braided blond hair, a dark jacket and flip-flops, one of which was recovered at the scene. He is considered armed and dangerous.

    Detectives are still trying to piece together details of the incident from conflicting witness accounts, Fox said.

    However, they believe that the woman and children were waiting for a man who had been inside the bar. That man, who has not been identified, is father to at least one of the children and was the gunmen’s target, police believe.

    The shooting followed an earlier round of gunfire at the bar involving the two men who are now in custody, as well as their alleged target, Fox said.

    The police department received 911 calls reporting earlier “shots fired” at the bar, Fox said, but responding officers found no evidence of that gunfire.

    Nonetheless, the 15th district assigned a marked tactical wagon to the neighborhood to support standard patrols in the sector.

    After the earlier gunfire, the alleged target stayed in the area, while the two men now in custody left the bar, only to return less than an hour later in a van and armed with the high-powered weapons, Fox said.

    Upon their return, the alleged shooters spotted the target outside the bar, stopped their van and opened fire, spraying the block with bullets.

    Hearing the gunfire, the two police officers in the tactical wagon went to the scene and saw the alleged shooters attempting to flee in the van.

    As the officers, in their vehicle, came “face to face” with the suspects, Fox said, the driver of the van shifted into reverse and raced backward down Griscom Street before hitting a pole.

    One was arrested on the spot and the other after a foot chase. The third male escaped on foot.

Fox said that both suspects have criminal records involving drug activity. He declined to confirm if investigators have evidence linking the alleged target to drugs.

    One thing is certain, however. Four innocent children could have been killed in the events that transpired that morning.

    “That seven-year-old and ten-year-old and five-month-old and the other child did not go to that bar to sell drugs,” said Fox, the former Northeast Division commander.

    “They were innocent kids brought to that location by other people who engage in that type of activity.

The nature of weapons allegedly used by the gunmen is particularly alarming to police and should be to civilians, as well, the detective chief believes.

    “The type of weaponry we face on the streets today — both police and citizens — is horrendous,” Fox said.

    “There is no legitimate use for an AK-47 on the street, no place for an assault weapon on a city street.
”It’s a frightening situation and it’s something that we have to get a handle on.”

    Gun violence and drugs have been a problem for many years on the 1500 block of Arrott St. and surrounding blocks. It cost one former owner of the same bar — then called the Jolly Post — his life.

    On May 29, 1999, Bruce Goldberg was gunned down in the street outside the business at about 3:30 a.m. after closing up for the night.

    Two men were later convicted of the murder and are now serving lengthy prison sentences.

    The bandits shot Goldberg in the back and stole some cash from his pockets, according to a city prosecutor who handled the case.

    But three years later, with the bar still closed and a new ownership group attempting to acquire the frozen liquor license, some neighbors claimed that Goldberg was really targeted because he had tried to run a “clean” business with no place for drug dealers.

    Goldberg had the bar for only about five months after longtime owner-operator Seymour Sampson sold it to him and retired to Florida.

    After Goldberg’s death, Sampson retook the property as a creditor and, in 2002, sold it to a group headed by West Oak Lane resident Weymouth Lewis, who is still listed as owner, according to city tax records.

    In fighting to keep Lewis’ group from acquiring a liquor license in 2002, neighbors cited the area’s long history of violence.

    Between 1991 and 1999, authorities documented 13 robberies, 15 burglaries, 10 aggravated assaults, five auto thefts, one rape and two murders on the 1500 block of Arrott St. alone.

    Adjacent blocks, including 4700 Oxford Ave. and 4700 Griscom St., had similar tallies.

    In 2002, the police department identified the corner of Arrott and Penn streets, at the opposite end of the block from the bar, as an Operation Safe Streets location with full-time police presence.

    That anti-drug program, criticized for its heavy use of costly police overtime, no longer exists.

    Though state liquor enforcement officers and the District Attorney’s Public Nuisance Task Force — another law enforcement initiative that has since been disbanded because of budget cuts — never documented allegations from neighbors of drug activity inside the Jolly Post under Sampson, the bar was cited for numerous other code violations in the 1990s.

    “The last person who tried to make it a decent place is dead,” one critical neighbor told the Northeast Times in 2002.

    “It’s a bad location for a bar in a neighborhood that’s already in crisis.”

    Lewis, the current owner, vowed at the time not to allow any drug activity in the establishment. 
”We just can’t tolerate anything like that,” he said.

    “If it gets to that point, I’ll close the thing down before I put people in a dangerous situation.”

Reporter William Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or bkenny@bsmphilly.

    One week latter, Apr 13, 2006, Diane Villano of the Northeast Times:

    Frankford revitalization plans move forward

    Mike Thompson … described Frankford’s historical resources as a “linchpin to build some hope on.”

    But hope doesn’t cut it for Frankford Y director Terry Tobin, who reiterated concerns that he brought to planners at the initial meeting in December.

    “One of our major problems is crime and safety. Most people view Frankford as a dangerous neighborhood,” Tobin said.

    Until that problem is addressed, he said, it will be difficult to encourage people to come to Frankford.

    When asked if that view of safety is real or perceived, Tobin answered, “Both. It’s a different place at night.”

    Just a week earlier, four people, including two children, had been injured in a spray of gunfire at an Arrott Street bar — the assailants’ arsenal included an AK-47 assault rifle — but Tobin thinks the media sensationalize neighborhood crime “to the hilt.”

    Five weeks after the Frankford & Arrott Street shoot-out, there was another Arrott Street shooting.

    Only this time it was the assassination of a Philadelphia Police Officer

    05-08-06, 10:51 PM

    PHILADELPHIA– A Philadelphia Police officer is in very critical condition after a shooting in Northeast Philadelphia Monday night.

    Officials said the officer was shot during a robbery in progress near Arrott and Adams Avenues.

    The officer was taken to Temple University Hospital and is said to be in critical condition with injuries to the head or neck.

    Authorities said the suspect was wearing ski mask and fled from the scene on foot.

    Officer Killed After Northeast Philly Shooting

    (CBS 3) At a midnight press conference Tuesday, Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson and Mayor John Street announced the officer died from his injuries.

    Officials said the officer was shot during a robbery in progress at Pat’s Cafe near Arrott and Adams Avenues around 10 p.m.

    The officer was taken to Temple University Hospital and is said to be in critical condition with injuries to the head or neck. He was taken in for emergency surgery, but later succumbed from his injuries.

    Authorities said the suspect was wearing ski mask and fled from the scene on foot. Police canvassed the area during a massive manhunt for the suspect who may have been armed with a shotgun.

    Chopper 3 captured police taking individuals into custody on the 3200 Block of Frankford Avenue and near the intersection of the Roosevelt Boulevard and Adams Avenue. Currently no one has been charged.

    May 9, 2006 8:35 am US/Eastern

    PHILADELPHIA— A Philadelphia Police officer was killed after a shooting in Northeast Philadelphia Monday night.

    Officials said 46-year-old Gary Skerski was shot during a robbery in progress at Pat’s Cafe near Arrott and Adams Avenues around 10 p.m.

    Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson explains what happened.

    “Someone got on the phone and was whispering to our 9-1-1 responder that there was a man inside the bar, holding the bar up.”

    Officer Skerski responded to the call. He was working overtime to support the Operation Safe Streets initiative.

    Commissioner Johnson continued, “As he’s about to enter the bar, a man comes out with two weapons, a shotgun and a handgun. He shoots the officer one time in the neck.”

    This was before Skerski could withdraw a weapon of his own.

    The officer was taken to Temple University Hospital with wounds to the head or neck. He was taken in for emergency surgery, but later succumbed to his injuries.

    Skerski’s family rushed to the hospital to visit their loved one. Commissioner Johnson and Mayor John Street were also on-scene to pay their respects.

    “This is a very, very sad day for the family, very sad day for the police department. It’s a very sad day for our city and unfortunately, there is too much of this happening, all around the country,” Street said.

    Sylvester Johnson added, “And I think it’s one of the toughest jobs in the entire country. Again, it’s the only civilian occupation in the world, where you can either give a life, take a life or save a life.”

    During a press conference Commissioner Johnson and Mayor Street announced the officer, a 16-year veteran of the force, died from his injuries just before midnight.

    Authorities said the suspect was wearing a ski mask and fled the scene on foot. Police canvassed the area during a massive manhunt for the suspect who may have been armed with a shotgun.

    Police questioned a number of people overnight but have not found the perpetrator. Authorities remain at the bar where the shooting happened, and continue to scour the area for the person responsible for killing one of their own.

  3. Is the building still owned by the same person who last had it opened as a bar?

  4. I don’t know who the people are that I have spoken to (The men renovating the building) or who they work for. They declined to comment on that. They only said that the owners are renovating it to re-open it as a bar. However, no matter if it is the same owner or not the history of that place shows that it is not reasonable to allow any one to open a bar in that location. The best indicator of future performance is past performance. The articles copied here are sadly but a few of the articles about meyhem surrounding this former bar poperty. It is also important to remember this has been going on with the last three owners even the one owner (RIP) who tried to clean it up. I was working with him at the time to try to come up with ideas to improve the situation before his murder along with a volunteer who was a security expert. I feel that even a well intentioned owner can not run a decent place in that location. It is a war zone there already why allow any bar to open there and add to it unless you don’t care about the community and you are able profit from it?

  5. It’s not the bar, it’s the people that make it bad.

  6. Krystal, that is very true.

  7. Krystal you’re right but the bar being there gives the wrong people a reason to be on that corner doing the wrong thing. The fact that the little activity going on there now has stirred people up, it gives the neighbors who care a head start on stopping it before it’s too late.

  8. this is very funny to me u have drug dealers on your corner and crack heads burning down houses getting high and u do nothing but a man takes a risk on trying to better the area and u want to stop him heavy drugs where being soled off that porch so he in closed it no ones on that corner while people are at the bar that showes a change for the good right there u talk about the past what happen cant be change … (remainder deleted by the moderator)

  9. thats right a bar will not be open there like i said stop bye and talk to me u will find out what will be there there will be no drugs at all there will be no trafficing at all i have a family like every one else that i take care of and i have a job like u and have worked for a long time i also have worked with kids and i have not broke any laws at all im sad because u or anyone else can stop bye to talk to me only one person has i missed them because theres alot of paper work with what im doing and it has to get done. like u i have a furture and a family to take care of .The police officer i was talking to stop bye to get my number say thank u for changing the porch so no one can gamble and sell drugs their anymore.please just come talk to me we will sit down i will lay it out for u if your not comterable after that u can buy from me and do what please have a nice day hope to see u soon ps never said it was ok to take anyones picture putting there safety at risk please stop or will have to file a complaint

  10. I will also pray for everyone of u because prayer changes things god bless good night

  11. Thanks for the reply Vern. One more question in 2 parts that I’m sure will be asked by everyone, Why that location and do you honestly believe a bar is a needed service in this area? I am in business myself so the expected answer, ‘I’m trying to make a living’ will not suffice.

  12. everyone is so concern about the bar.the only way the vaule of the community or homes is brougth up the vaule if there are no empty building. just because things happen in the pass don’t mean it’s going to happen now. the way i look at it we is the faith. let the man do what he needs to do. he also have apartments for rent. look at the
    good he’s doing

    THE BAR.

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