Manager at Miami nightspot where 15 were shot is cited for code violations

Miami is investigating possible code violatiions at The Spot, where 15 people were shot Sunday.
Miami is investigating possible code violatiions at The Spot, where 15 people were shot Sunday. Miamni Herald Staff

The manager of a Miami nightspot where 15 people were shot — including her own 13-year-old daughter — has been issued a series of code violations by a club task force with a notice to appear in court.

Tiffany Johnson received citations for distributing alcohol with only a beer and wine license, for not having permits for a jukebox and a pool table, and for buying beer at Presidente Supermarket, which isn't a legal distributor.

The citations, which also came with a recommendation to remove The Spot’s certificate of use, were issued by the Operation Safe Club Task Force, a group composed of city police, code enforcement officers and members of the state Alcohol, Tobacco and Beverage agency.

"Our preliminary findings revealed numerous issues and violations, the most critical is their certificate of use and liquor license," Miami police officer Lazaro Ferro, a task force member, wrote in a report to his bosses.

Johnson couldn't be reached for comment. Though she wasn’t taken into custody or handcuffed, she was technically arrested, according to the task force, and given a notice to appear in court.

Miami is weighing whether to suspend The Spot’s certificate of use, basically its ability to be open for business.

Inspectors continue to scour the Liberty City venue for code violations, and are looking into whether a different license is required if a restaurant morphs into a nightclub, as The Spot has done for several weeks.

City Manager Daniel Alfonso said inspectors have found structural issues with The Spot’s roof.

“They brought attention to themselves,” Alfonso said. “And since they brought attention to themselves, they’re going to get attention.”

Miami Police Detective Frederica Burden said numerous violations have already been uncovered, and that the business should not have been operating as a nightclub since it’s licensed as a restaurant.

Top executives of The Spot, at Northwest 64th Street and Seventh Avenue, couldn’t be reached Tuesday.

Meanwhile, police continued their search for the two males who they say fired more than three dozen rounds into the club just after 1 a.m. Sunday as dozens of teens, and some preteens, listened and danced to the beat of a local DJ.

The pandemonium ensued after a confrontation in the club escalated to gunfire. Only one person — a 15-year-old boy who police believe was the initial target — was critically injured. He is recuperating at Jackson Memorial Hospital. No one died in the shooting.

Two of the victims were 11 and 13, police said. They said the 13-year-old was the daughter of club manager Tiffany Johnson, and the younger child was a friend.

After the initial shots were fired, clubgoers scrambled out the front and rear exits of The Spot. One hooter, police said, ran out and jumped into a waiting white car, while his cohort continued firing from inside the vehicle. Police continue to search for the vehicle.

In all, the 15 people were shot in and outside The Spot range in age from 11 to 25. Police have not given specific ages or genders. They said they have interviewed all the victims.

Despite issuing a statement Tuesday that police remain unaware of motive and haven’t yet identified the shooters, investigators believe the initial shooter inside the club is a student at Norland Senior High School, near Miami Gardens.

The Spot is a licensed restaurant that can seat up to 50 people. It has a beer and wine license, and teens and children are allowed inside. Police don’t know if juveniles inside the club were buying drinks, but said the federal agency Alcohol, Tobacco and Beverage is also investigating the incident.

For at least the past month The Spot has been advertising Saturday evenings as a teen night, hiring local music talent to attract kids. Also known as The Caribbean Spot, it’s been popular over the years as a hangout for an older crowd that enjoyed island music and fried fish, pigeon peas and cabbage.

The Spot has been closed since Sunday’s shooting.

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