Police say number of calls to Manchester's Club Realm not unusual
MANCHESTER - The downtown club associated with a December murder investigation has had nearly 100 calls for police service this past year but only a fraction of the arrests associated with troublesome Manchester bars over the past decade.
Manchester police said that they were called to Club Realm 96 times in 2012. However, only 14 of the calls were important enough to warrant a police report; five arrests were made last year at the club.
Daniel Langlois, who was shot and killed Dec. 27, was a part-time bouncer at the club, according to friends. He was believed to be driving an intoxicated friend home from the club when he was shot less than a mile from the club.
Friends have said a fight broke out between three others and Langlois after he left the bar.
Prosecutor Jeffery Strelzin of the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office said Thursday that Manchester police are working the case every day.
"They talk. I meet with them. We meet up here (in Concord). It's an active investigation," Strelzin said.
Weekend arrests are nothing out of the ordinary for downtown Manchester, and the first block of Amherst Street has had its share. That's because of a nearby city parking garage favored by weekend revelers, and in part because of the club at 43 Amherst St.
The number of police calls for service at Club Realm are not unusual, said Gary Simmons, assistant Manchester police chief. Many of them were initiated by police who are keeping an eye on the club, rather than customers, he said.
"If you look at calls we have to respond to for trouble, it's not unusual," Simmons said. He also said the club is cooperative. In the past year, police have asked Club Realm to focus on potential trouble at closing time, and the club has responded, he said.
According to city and state Liquor Commission records, the owner of Club Realm is Londonderry resident Pamela Gagnon.
In a brief telephone interview, Gagnon said there have been no arrests associated with Realm, and she questioned the accuracy of police records. She said a reporter should speak to her lawyer but did not provide a name.
She also said Langlois had visited two other clubs the night of his death. Strelzin would not discuss her remark about Langlois.
Four of the 2012 arrests associated with Club Realm were for disorderly conduct and one for theft. Other incidents that did not result in arrest include one armed robbery and two assaults.
The numbers pale when compared to Omega, the dance club located on Elm and Auburn streets that officials shut down in 2006 because of an alarming number of assaults, drunkenness and other calls. For a 12-month period ending May 2005, police counted 113 arrests associated with Omega, according to New Hampshire Union Leader archives.
Simmons said Club Realm isn't required to hire an off-duty police detail. But it does so on occasion, such as when a big act visits the club. Records at the Liquor Commission list Gagnon as the only owner of Club Realm, and city records say she is the sole proprietor.
Liquor Commission Enforcement Chief Eddie Edwards said records say the initial license was issued in July 2011, but did not go into effect until the following December. Such a delay is not unsual, as a bar owner takes time to put everything together to open a business, he said.
A Gagnon relative, Dale Gagnon, signed for city licenses on Club Realm's behalf. And the owner of the building is listed as Pauline Gage, the mother of Tim Gage, the owner of the now defunct Club Liquid.
Club Liquid had landed in police reports and the Union Leader crime reports in the mid to late 2000s - five mentions in the Union Leader in 2009, six in 2008, three in 2007, five in 2006.
Simmons said Club Realm does not have the problems that Club Liquid had when it was in operation.
Edwards said Club Realm has not been cited for any violations of liquor laws since it opened, but officers are looking at some issues regarding food.
Club Realm operates under a restaurant license, meaning it cannot close its kitchen at 9 p.m., as can clubs that have a more expensive license for restaurant/cocktail lounge.
Edwards said Liquor Enforcement officers have reached out to Manchester police in light of the Langlois homicide.
"This is all preliminary," he said, "but it doesn't seem to be an issue for us right now."