Security system upgrades were made while the nightclub was closed

by: Lindsey Watson

Posted: Apr 9, 2021 / 9:48 PM EDT
Updated: April 9, 2021 / 10:47 p.m. EDT

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been a week since the fatal shooting at a nightclub on the south side of Youngstown.

On Friday, Utopia opened its doors for the first time since the incident.

The club’s entertainment director, Michael Riffe, discussed what they did to move forward and stay safe.

Mayoral candidate says he was at Utopia before the shooting and wants the “political” guesswork to end

The owners of Utopia are trying to keep going and hope the community will join them.

“We just want to give something back to everyone who has supported us so much and that’s why we’re opening up again tonight,” said Riffe.

Riffe has been with the club for 10 years.

“I’ve never seen violence before. It was a terrible experience, ”he said.

Officer helps save the lives of women in Youngstown shooting

Shots were fired at the club last weekend during a concert. It had been rented out for an event.

Charles Allen Jr. was killed and two others injured. Police say everyone was the target of the shooting and it was not an attack on the LGBTQ + community. Even so, the officers continue to investigate.

“We just wanted everyone to feel safe and know that this wasn’t going to happen. It was a very unfortunate event. I’m still adjusting and trying to do my best after experiencing it, ”said Riffe.

While the club was closed, upgrades were made to its security system. Your number one priority is making sure people know they are safe.

The club received a lot of love and support.

“It was overwhelming. I think I cried all the way home and the rest of the day with just text messages and phone calls and posts on my wall and Utopia’s wall and [owner Earl Winner’s] Wall. It was overwhelming but it is very much appreciated, ”said Riffe.

Like many companies, Utopia was just beginning to emerge from the pandemic. Then this happened, but they have plans to move forward.

“Come out and take part. We’re an all-acceptance club, just because it’s LGBTQ makes everyone welcome, ”said Riffe.