Crime

He was released from prison 2 weeks ago — and then he was shot dead at a strip club

Jermaine A. Long, 33, was shot and killed outside the Sugar Room, left, early Monday morning, according to St. Petersburg police. Records show he was released from prison on March 20, just 13 days before his death.
Jermaine A. Long, 33, was shot and killed outside the Sugar Room, left, early Monday morning, according to St. Petersburg police. Records show he was released from prison on March 20, just 13 days before his death.

The two groups started arguing inside the nightclub before it spilled into the parking lot early Monday, police said. That’s where one group took aim at the other and opened fire.

Jermaine A. Long, 33, was shot and fatally wounded at about 1:30 a.m., police said. Records show he was released from prison on March 20 — just 13 days before his death. Another man was injured but was expected to survive.

The incident heightened fears and frustrations with the Sugar Room, which residents have called an illegal adult entertainment venue that’s taken root near their neighborhood of Historic Roser Park.

One resident let the city have it on St. Petersburg’s code violation reporting website: “Once again, let’s all pretend the Mayor lives right beside this strip club and then let’s have all the city employees and the police department REACT ACCORDINGLY !!!,” wrote someone with the username Goldnwolf.

Police have not released any other information about the shooting or the investigation, including the identity of the other wounded man.

Records show officers have been dispatched 21 times to the business at 1239 Fourth St. S since the start of 2018 to investigate complaints such as illegal parking, noise, domestic battery, criminal mischief and large crowds. There was a stretch when police visited the club nine times over five days.

Code enforcement inspectors have also been busy there. They have not sanctioned the Sugar Room for operating as an unpermitted strip club, however, even though its Facebook page bills itself as “Tampa Bay’s newest adult attraction,” and features photos of scantily-clad women, some bathed in dollar bills.

Instead, code enforcement believes it’s more effective to pursue these other violations against the business: for performing construction without a permit; for operating as a bar when it’s zoned only as a restaurant; and for painting an unpermitted sign on the side of the building, city records show.

The man killed there early Monday, Long, was sentenced in 2007 to spend 10 years in prison on drug charges such as trafficking cocaine and the possession and sale of heroin.

For the full story, go to tampabay.com.

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