Crime-plagued bar slapped with probation in Augusta

Voncellies Allen has owned the club since 2013.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 11:09 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Augusta Commission on Tuesday imposed six months of probation on a local bar that’s been a magnet for crimes including shootings, one of which was fatal.

The grounds of probation are failure to comply with alcohol ordinance.

Commission members last week decided to put the matter on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting despite hearing from Voncellies Allen, owner of the Level 9 Sports Bar & Grill at 3054 Damascus Road.

The matter went before the commission at the request of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, which described the problem in a letter to the Augusta-Richmond County Planning and Development Department.


The letter notes that on Jan. 24, a fight resulted in two people being stabbed at the bar, and on Sept. 28, 2021, a shooting in the parking lot killed one person and injured two. In addition, there have been five simple battery cases, other battery cases, a kidnapping and sodomy case, and a cocaine trafficking case since 2020.

Most recently, three people were injured in a shooting inside the club on March 21. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said the three people weren’t in an altercation but were “victims of a shooter firing his weapon indiscriminately.”

Allen says there’s “a problem with guns in the area and people not being afraid to shoot.”

The owner of Level 9 makes his case before the Augusta Commission on April 25, 2023.
The owner of Level 9 makes his case before the Augusta Commission on April 25, 2023.(WRDW)

Allen has owned the club since 2013.

“I’ve been open for over nine years, and I’m one of the few people that own my building and my land. This is very important to me. I’m always there. I’m an owner that’s there. I’m not at home waiting on a phone call. I’m there. So I know firsthand what goes on in there” he said.

The club “does have security and an off-duty officer but has not detoured these types of incidents from occurring inside the bar,” the letter states.

Sheriff’s Investigator Jose Ortiz, who wrote the letter, said, “The last shooting, it was learned that somebody let the subject in from a door that nobody was watching. He has put somebody on that door, to watch that door, and any door, to prevent people from coming in with guns.”

Ortiz says Level 9 has had 20 cases on file since 2020.

Allen says since January, he has increased security and has ordered metal detectors for the doors. He says he still needs to install the detectors.