Neighbors concerned after another shootout outside Denver hookah lounge


DENVER – Neighbors at a Denver hookah lounge are concerned for their safety after another nighttime shootout, and they want the city and the police department to take action.

Darrel Bauer says he was sleeping on his sofa early Saturday morning when a series of gunshots woke him up.

“It was probably 20-30 shots, several shooters,” he said on Sunday. “After I hung up on 911, there was another shootout.”

Bauer’s house is located near the Cafe Insomnia hookah lounge on South Broadway and East Harvard Avenue.

Shortly after, another round of shots was fired. This time, Bauer says the plans were too close for comfort.

“I heard the bullets go through my front window and they lodged in the wall in my living room,” he said. “I heard glass shatter and the Venetian blinds were shattered for being made of metal.”

In a video shared with Denver7, you can hear the shots fired.

Bauer says gatherings outside of Insomnia Cafe have worsened since the permanent closure of Habibi Hookah Cafe on South Broadway and East Colorado Avenue.

The lounge, which is just a mile from Insomnia Cafe, was forcibly closed on November 1 due to a shooting.

The situation left Denver District 6 council member Paul Kashmann just as upset as his constituents.

“Nighttime disturbance next to a residential area is unacceptable under all conditions. But when it escalates to the point of shooting, it just has to stop,” he said. “In this situation where you’ve had such wacky hours, it’s going to be really hard to control.”

According to Cafe Insomnia’s listing on Google, it’s open until 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. A bill introduced by board member Jolon Clark would force hookah lounges across Denver to close at midnight.

“When you’re open until five, as they say, nothing big will happen after midnight,” Kashmann said.

First reading of the bill takes place Monday at the Denver City Council meeting. Bauer is hoping he eventually gets the vocals he needs to pass.

“I don’t want to move because I love Denver, so, you know, they have to do something,” Bauer said.

In the meantime, Kashmann says Denver Police are aware of the issue and recently positioned HALO cameras near the living room.

Denver7 contacted the owner of Cafe Insomnia by phone and email, but had no response.

An article published on his Facebook page a few hours after the shooting indicates that the show will reopen on Tuesday “with a restructuring” of its operations.

Neighbors say, and the Denver Police crime map confirms, that there was a shooting just down the block from the living room on October 24, which they attribute to its customers. A neighbor says he found blood in front of his house. It is not known if anyone was injured in these recent shootings.

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