Uptown bar reopens with strong support after gruesome crime

Uptown bar reopens with strong support after gruesome crime

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by BEN THOMPSON / NewsChannel 36

Bio | Follow: @BenTNews | Email

WCNC.com

Posted on December 8, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 8 at 12:42 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hartigan's Irish Pub opened Wednesday night for the first time since a patron was murdered outside the bar early Sunday morning.

A large crowd of loyal customers gathered inside the bar on Cedar Street in uptown Charlotte, greeting each other with hugs and words of support.

For the first time, the bar's owners sat down and spoke on-camera with NewsChannel 36.

"Our staff and owners put themselves at risk and were injured in the process to get the situation under control," said co-owner Jill Phillips.

Police charged Katie Nicole Robinson, 32, with murder for the death of 30-year-old Antoinette Baker. Police said the two got into a fight in the bathroom of Hartigan’s earlier in the evening. According to police, the fight escalated as the bar closed and the women left.

One witness, who asked to remain anonymous and who claimed to be a first responder, told NewsChannel 36 and other media outlets that bar workers wouldn't let her aid Ms. Baker as she died. Bar owners said the claim is ludicrous.

"We did everything we could do to help Ms. Baker and police. The misinformation that's out there is devastating," Phillips said.

Phillips was surrounded by Hartigan's regulars Wednesday night and said the business attracts customers that are extremely loyal.

Patrons told NewsChannel 36 they'll continue to support the establishment.

"It's a pub. It's dinner. It's after the football game. It's during the football game. It's just an open door to everyone," said regular customer Dan Mauney.

NewsChannel 36 checked police records over the past two years and found little serious crime in the immediate area around the bar.

"Nothing like this has ever happened like this here," Phillips said. "It's gonna take a while. It's gonna take some time to heal. But we'll get through it together."

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