El Rinconcito bar could be evicted after shooting

Property owners say tenants are behind on rent

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – El Rinconcito bar in Orlando could be shuttered after the property owners served an eviction notice, just days after deputies say a man was shot in the head there.

Property owner Norma Herro said the shooting on Monday was the final straw. On Wednesday, she posted an eviction notice. 

Aside from the crime, Herro said the bar owners are two months behind on rent.

The bar is also due for an inspection by the fire marshall's office, according to a county spokeswoman.

Officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Office said the shooting of Bryan Ortega, 28, on Monday was just the most recent incident in a string of problems at the bar.

"That was the final straw when somebody got shot in the parking lot, that’s it. I’m done with that," Herro said.

In March 2018, deputies said two men were injured there in a shooting that left the bar's walls and vehicles in the parking lot littered with bullet holes.

Deputies said Happy Place Sports Bar, which had the same owners as El Rinconcito, had similar problems. Happy Place was shut down in October after multiple shootings happened there, the last of which left a 24-year-old man dead.

In both cases, deputies have said that sheriff's office nuisance closure policy could not be used because it only applies to establishments with multiple cases of prostitution, drug sales, stolen property and/or gang activity but does not apply to shootings or homicides.

Commissioner Victoria Siplin said she recognizes the policy's shortcomings.

"I have spoken to Orange County staff regarding our nuisance abatement policy and want to know what more the county can do to keep residents safe. I also plan to bring this up for open discussion at a future commission meeting," Siplin said.

A county spokeswoman said the Nuisance Abatement Board is run under state statute.

"If the ordinance were to be changed, this would fall under state statute (because this would affect the entire state of Florida). There would have to be a process for a bill or legislative action to happen in this matter. It is not solely a County or Sheriff’s Office issue – it is a state one," she said. 

Herro is pushing to have El Rinconcito evicted, but at this point, it's unclear when and if the bar will be shut down.