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Brookhaven shuts Oxygen Bar after shooting

Police investigate the scene of a shooting at

Police investigate the scene of a shooting at Oxygen, a nightclub in Rocky Point. Police said three women and a man were shot there early Saturday morning. (May 7, 2011) Photo Credit: Stringer News

Brookhaven Town officials Monday closed the Oxygen Bar in Rocky Point, a downtown nightclub that was the site of a shooting early Saturday morning that injured three women and a man.

The town investigated and found the club's assembly permit had expired, Supervisor Mark Lesko said.

The owner of the bar, Robert Gerson of Miller Place, must submit to an inspection of the club to obtain the permit and reopen, Lesko said.

Attempts to reach Gerson were not successful.

The shooting "was a wake-up call" that the bar was a nuisance, Lesko said. Neighbors of the bar, at Broadway and Route 25A, said they have complained for years of noise and of patrons leaving broken bottles and debris on nearby streets.

"This place has done nothing but wreak havoc," said Councilwoman Jane Bonner, who represents the area.

Building owner Ernest Saasto, of Lindenhurst, said he has asked Gerson to vacate the building: "He's out of there."

Lesko said the town is investigating whether it can charge Gerson with other violations and will press the New York State Liquor Authority to strip the bar of its liquor license.

Scott Horowitz, president of Shoreline Insurance next to the bar, called the club a "terrible" neighbor and cited numerous disturbances over the years -- including patrons climbing onto his roof and sticking bottles in his building's gutters.

The bar, known at the time as The Edge, was the site of a 2010 melee that left a 20-year-old Bronx man hospitalized with stab wounds. In 2009, the club canceled a planned wet T-shirt contest and Jell-O wrestling match after neighbors protested, according to Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who represents the area.

Suffolk Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said she'll work with the liquor authority and Suffolk police to seek the bar's "permanent closure."

Saturday's shooting, about 3:30 a.m., sent dozens fleeing into the street, according to a video of the aftermath. Police have said the shooting is still under investigation.

The victims, who were not named by police, were taken to hospitals for treatment.

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