Right call made in shuttering Johnstown bar

We applaud the Johnstown Police Department for taking action that led to a Hornerstown bar yielding its liquor license in the wake of a fatal shooting there.

The Clubhouse at 900 Ash St. has been a regular trouble spot for city police. Chief Robert Johnson said officers have been called to incidents in or near The Clubhouse 42 times in five years.

A Johnstown man faces criminal homicide charges after the latest violent incident, on Oct. 26 – when, police say, Nijan Terrell Joiner shot and killed Eddie Wanamaker during an altercation inside The Clubhouse.

That was the last straw for city police concerning that bar, said Johnson, who contacted the Liquor Control Enforcement division of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Michael Steffish, the bar’s owner, gave up his liquor license – which we’re told will be sold and moved elsewhere.

“It was clear to me that LCE had to be contacted,” Johnson said. “I think it’s the appropriate step to take. We can’t do it all on our own, and there are many available factions in law enforcement that just aren’t JPD. So we’re utilizing them. And, in doing that, we’re making our community safer.”

The chief added: “We’re going to reduce the level of aggravation for the people that live by that place. I’m sure they’ll be ecstatic to hear this.”

We strongly support this aggressive approach to handling a volatile establishment with a history of violent incidents.

We encourage the city police and other area departments to consider similar action for bars whose owners choose not to keep the bad elements out themselves.