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Town of Bristol strip club closes after repeated gunfire

Town of Bristol strip club closes after repeated gunfire

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Club Bristol

A sign on the door at Club Bristol, a strip club in the town of Bristol where gunshots have been fired outside three times in the past week, informs visitors that the club is closed for now.

A strip club in rural Dane County voluntarily shut down Sunday after shots were fired outside the business three times in the span of a week, including one incident in which a man allegedly fired on the building from his pickup truck.

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Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of shots fired outside Club Bristol, 7653 Hwy. N in the town of Bristol, at around 2 a.m. Sunday, when some of the 16 to 18 rounds that were fired hit a car that had people in it, according to town chairman Gerald Derr. Four days earlier, a highly intoxicated man reportedly fired several shotgun rounds into the side of the building, and three days before that shots were fired in or near the business’ parking lot.

Derr said that after the first shooting in the early morning hours of Feb. 28, he met with the owners of the club to go over security. The town of Bristol board has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday to consider suspending the club’s liquor and adult entertainment licenses and reviewing its lighting and security measures, Derr said.

“We’re not turning this town into Tombstone, period,” Derr said. “Everything’s going to be on the table.”

The strip club, located north of Sun Prairie and east of DeForest at highways N and V, only reopened about six weeks ago after being closed for the majority of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to town officials.

Derr said there were shooting incidents outside the club in 2017 and 2019, although co-owner Rich Bickle disputed that.

Bickle said the club already has a metal detector, security cameras and lights in the parking lot and is ordering an ID scanner that can verify an ID’s authenticity and allow staff to track customers who have caused problems at the business in the past and aren’t allowed back.

“We’re just trying to nip this in the bud,” said Bickle, who also owns The Boxxx Office strip club in Portage. “We’re working on trying to make it right.”

Club Bristol is one of only two strip clubs in operation in Dane County. The other is Silk Exotic in rural Middleton. Madison’s only strip club, Visions, closed more than a year ago after a series of violent incidents there. Two Gambian immigrants are now hoping to convert the building into a grocery.

Zachary M. Leonard, 29, of Holmen, faces three felony and two misdemeanor counts in the Wednesday shooting at Club Bristol after he allegedly fired on the club after getting kicked out over a dispute with another patron. No one was injured.

Deputies found Leonard in his truck in a ditch nearby. The criminal complaint in the case states a preliminary breath test found Leonard’s blood alcohol concentration to be 0.318 percent, nearly four times the legal limit for drivers in Wisconsin.

Police reported finding five guns in Leonard’s truck, including a shotgun, two handguns and two “AR15-type” rifles, along with ammunition, numerous knives and a hatchet.



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