Stabbing reported in bar parking lot

BY ABE TEKIPPE | JUNE 22, 2009 7:21 AM

Less than a week after the Iowa City City Council granted Los Cocos a six-month liquor license renewal, authorities are investigating a stabbing that reportedly occurred in the parking lot next to the bar over the weekend.

“This couldn’t have happened at a worse time,” the bar’s owner, Heather German, said, and she is concerned police — who have been called to Los Cocos more than 200 times in the 11 months it has been open — will use the incident to justify a non-renewal after the current six-month renewal expires.

According to police reports, Iowa City police officers responded to a stabbing at Los Cocos, 1921 Keokuk St., around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Upon arrival, officers found a woman with a stab wound to the abdomen. She was taken to the UI Hospitals and Clinics with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers also located a suspect.

After an interview with police, Kimberly Hall, 22, 2010 Davis St., was charged with willful injury causing bodily injury — a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

But German disagrees as to where the stabbing actually took place.

German said while the two women involved in the altercation were patrons of Los Cocos, the stabbing itself “did not occur on [Los Cocos’] property.”

Instead, German said, it took place in an adjacent lot after the women had been removed from the bar for arguing. When bar employees learned of the stabbing, they contacted police and cleared the establishment, German said.

Police had said they found the victim in the Los Cocos parking lot.

One city official said the incident may factor into the bar’s fate.

“When the six months have passed, I assume this will be part of the consideration [whether to renew Los Cocos’ liquor license],” Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey said, adding she wasn’t certain whether there would be immediate consequences.

German said Los Cocos officials are already doing everything they can to reduce the number of calls to police. It is one of the conditions they agreed to meet in order to obtain a liquor-license renewal.

“We have done a very good job of patrolling the inside of the bar and the outside premises,” she said. “How do we control what happens when patrons walk away from our parking lot?”

German said she plans to sit down with police and come up with a definitive answer to the question in the near future.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual at Los Cocos.

“If you come to Los Cocos, our premises are well-patrolled,” she said. “I don’t feel this one incident makes Los Cocos an unsafe place to be.”

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