The New York State Liquor Authority suspended the liquor license of Sonny O’s Pub’ on July 26, based on a referral by the Nassau County Police Department that listed several violent incidents — including a homicide in March — on or near the property, at 269 W. Merrick Rd.
“The establishment continues to pose a burden on police resources and has taken no discernible measures to remedy the disturbing recent uptick in violence and drug activity,” Christopher Riano, counsel to the SLA, said in a news release. “This behavior will not be tolerated, and the SLA will continue partnering with the Nassau County police to take immediate action against licensees who jeopardize the safety of their patrons and their communities.”
The suspension was the culmination of several violent incidents at Sonny O’s Pub in recent months, and forbids alcohol from being sold or consumed on the property.
On July 6, according to the SLA, Sonny O’s failed to notify the police following the assault of a patron at the pub. According to Nassau County police, the victim was rushed to a hospital after being punched by another patron. Additionally, the bar was charged with one count of disorderly premises based on a police referral detailing another assault on June 24. Police reported a physical altercation between two patrons that resulted in an enraged patron’s punching out the front window of the establishment, which shattered to the sidewalk.
Additional police referrals document four instances of drug possession in or around the premises on July 1, 10, 11 and 15. Police said they had responded to disturbances at the bar at least six times in the last 60 days, making it a focal point for police attention. On July 15, the bar was cited for failing to maintain business records, not having food available for patrons, possessing untaxed liquor and various building code violations.
Calls to Sonny O’s Pub were not returned as of press time.
The March homicide
Shaleek Jenkins, 35, of Hempstead, was shot and killed at about 4:05 a.m. on March 13 outside the pub.
Those who knew him described Jenkins, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, as kindhearted.
“My mom passed and he took care of me like no one else did and we weren’t even as close yet,” said Nicole Simmons, of Freeport, via Facebook messenger. “[We] built a bond that I feel I won’t have again. A true loss.”
Police arrested two men on July 2 — Mickey Corley, 37, of Lakeview, and his brother Christopher Corley, 40, of Nyack, N.Y. — in connection with the shooting. Mickey Corley was charged with second-degree murder, and Christopher Corley was charged with first-degree hindering prosecution.
Police informed the SLA that a dispute before the shooting began inside the bar. Simmons said that Jenkins came to the defense of a friend before the situation escalated.
According to published reports, the motive for the slaying appeared to be an argument over the theft of a large sum of cash — proceeds from a card game in a Baldwin barbershop about a week before the shooting. The Corley brothers allegedly accused Jenkins and his friends of having prior knowledge of the heist, and the two factions quarreled.
Simmons said that friends and family of Jenkins were heartbroken by the loss, and that six autograph books were filled at his funeral.
“That should speak for enough,” she said.
This story was updated on Aug. 2 at 10:25 a.m.