Update 2/6: After calling the event a "hostage situation" where people were being held "agains their will," police have now bafflingly told reporters that there were never any hostages inside the bar and that no more than three people were inside during the supposed standoff. Police shut down streets and briefly placed nearby schools on lockdown. Neighbors living near the bar told CBS Miami the event seemed like a "waste of resources."
The managers of Joseph's Club Restaurant, a 24-hour bar in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, apparently really does not want patrons talking to cops. Miami Police say that earlier this afternoon, after someone stole a cell phone outside the restaurant, the management somehow barricaded the restaurant's doors and locked as many as 12 people inside.
As of 4 p.m., Miami PD said the patrons were still trapped inside despite the fact that the owners do not appear to be threatening anyone with weapons.
"Our SWAT has breached the front door and our negotiation team is attempting to make contact with the management and/or hostages," Miami PD officials wrote online at 3 p.m.
Apparently, the situation is still dangerous enough that SWAT officers are still negotiating for a "peaceful solution" with bar management.
update: Following a robbery of cell phone outside of the establishment, Joseph Restaurant, our officers were contacted by a female who came out and stated that they are being held hostage by management. https://t.co/AjtgH5CoMx— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) February 5, 2018
Citrus Grove Elementary and Jr. High were locked down for a little while but they returned to regular operations shortly after. https://t.co/AjtgH5CoMx— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) February 5, 2018
UPDATE: The scene is still active. The streets remain closed. We are still trying to come to a peaceful resolution. https://t.co/AjtgH5CoMx— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) February 5, 2018
Reporters are huddled around the club waiting for an update as to what in hell is going on. A spokesperson for Miami PD told NBC 6 at 3:30 that the bar owners are holding "ten to 12" people inside.
"It is a hostage situation," the spokesperson confirmed.
Not much else is known at the moment — Citrus Grove Elementary and Middle Schools were both placed on lockdown, but students were eventually released. Streets near the bar are blocked off, and SWAT negotiators are still inside. The bar stands a few blocks from Marlins Park.
The bar is full of cheap vinyl chairs and a small dance floor. It's been something of a magnet for violence over the years: In 2014, a man was denied entrance to the club and later stormed back in claiming someone was chasing him. A shootout ensued — NBC 6 news cameras showed the bar's floor covered in blood and shattered glass. One man was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition.
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Then, in 2016, another fight broke out, in which one patron stabbed another to death. The killing was caught on camera:
The suspect, former club security guard Miguel Herrera Guevarra, was later charged with murder. However, he claimed he acted in self-defense: The video shows the victim pacing around the bar, hitting Guevarra on the shoulder, and pushing a woman.
Guevarra then whipped out a knife, and the victim responded by smashing a beer bottle and swinging the shards around. But Guevarra ultimately stabbed the man twice, killing him. He later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.