Masonic Lodge cited for zoning violation

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A man was shot during a party at a Masonic Lodge in Norfolk early Sunday morning, and a notice left on the door to the establishment says it’s been cited for unlawful entertainment before.

WAVY News’ Erin Kelly went by the Masonic Lodge located at 1516 East Princess Anne Rd. and found a notice from Elaine O’Reilly, zoning enforcement specialist with the City of Norfolk. The notice stated the establishment had received a written notice of a citation on Feb. 18, 2014 for violating city code.

“Your period for appeal has expired,” the notice said. “An inspection shows that you are still in violation. You are now subject to legal remedies to abate the violation(s). Your immediate attention to these matters is required. Should you fail to correct conditions immediately, criminal or civil action may be instituted against you.”

A city spokeswoman says the violation is for having entertainment at the building without city permission.

Photo by WAVY/Erin Kelly
Photo by WAVY/Erin Kelly

Police responded to the Masonic Lodge  around 3:10 a.m. for reports of a shooting at a function inside the lodge, Officer Daniel Hudson with the Norfolk Police Department said.

Officers arrived and found a man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Medics transported the victim to a local hospital, where he is expected to recover.

Officers said they have been called to the building eight times since December.

Police have not released the circumstances surrounding the shooting or information on a possible suspect. However, several neighbors told WAVY.com there are parties at the Masonic Lodge nearly every weekend. Neighbors said people attending the parties will park on their street, walk through their yards and leave trash in the area.

“I saw cars everywhere, all up and down our street,” said Dora Morris, who lives nearby. “So it had to be some kind of a party.”

One woman said she’s been to parties at the lodge before. She said she’s never felt unsafe. In fact, the organizers usually take extra steps to make sure the events are safe.

“You feel comfortable once you go inside of there,” said Pamela Williams. “And you would never hear of anything happening.”

10 On Your Side talked to a man, identified as J.P., who said he was at the party. He said he didn’t see the shooter, but was about 15 feet away.

“You just hear the shots ring out,” he said. “And these just weren’t no one, two, three, four, five. It just kept going after the second shot. The DJ actually cut the music off and they just kept ringing. I’m thinking of my kids. That’s the first thing I’m thinking. Then I’m thinking, ‘Is this real?’”

J.P. said he’s been to several of the parties at the lodge, which typically include security, a DJ, and drinks for sale. He and another attendee told 10 On Your Side that Norfolk Sheriff’s Office deputies patted down people as security for the event this weekend, but the Sheriff’s Office has denied that and said officers only worked in the parking lot.

WAVY News’ Liz Palka spoke to members of the Masonic Lodge, who said they weren’t present Saturday night and they didn’t know anything about the event. Willie Johnson, a leader with the Lodge told 10 On Your Side the organization rents the space from the owner, but did not throw the party. City records show the building belongs to the Norfolk Masonic Homeowners Association, but 10 On Your Side has been unable to reach the owner.

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