Melbourne votes to draft new late-night ordinance after shooting

Ordinance would set up curfews for businesses in downtown Melbourne

MELBOURNE, Fla. – At the conclusion of a Melbourne City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, council members approved a motion to have city staff draft a new downtown late-night ordinance.

The motion comes after three people were shot in downtown Melbourne early Saturday morning.

Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey said he wants to see changes aimed at improving safety.

“It’s time we change the culture of downtown Melbourne,” Alfrey said. “Understand the investment that people have. If we focus on family friendly venues that people put their livelihood and they work down there everyday.”

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Melbourne Police Chief David Gillespie told the council he wants more officers in downtown Melbourne on Friday and Saturday nights, but recently, he was forced to lower the amount of officers because the department lacked the resources.

“Staffing issues, this particular detail we have on Friday, Saturday nights are labor intensive. It requires significant resources from the department from our staff,” Gillespie said.

Romeo Mikhail owns the Fiesta Bar and Grill across from where police said the shooting occurred Saturday morning.

Mikhail said the city understaffed security during the large Cinco de Mayo crowds on the eve of the shooting.

“Ultimately if it’s good for our patrons, makes it safer for people to come downtown, then yes. I’m not against it,” Mikhail said. “I want to see what these policies are, you know? If it’s too out of control, if they are saying curfews and things like that, I’m definitely against that.”

Several council members asked business owners to work alongside the city as they discuss possible solutions to curb violence.

The council is scheduled to meet next on Tuesday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. inside Melbourne City Hall.

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Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.