El Toro Loco Has Earned Attention of State, County Law Enforcement

Earlier this month, we told you that El Toro Loco on South Military Trail Road on the outskirts of West Palm Beach had become a frequent site of violence. Slightly less violence than we at first thought -- turns out the bar was only associated with two murders, not two murders and this months nearly fatal shooting.

That latter one involved Jimmy's Cafe, also on South Military Trail Road -- previously known by some as El Toro Loco. Thus the confusion.

Still, the question for law enforcement is whether the nightclub is a victim of random violence or whether there's something about it that attracts violence. The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office is teaming with state liquor control to find an answer.

In September, the month after a man was found shot to death between parked cars in the El Toro Loco nightclub, the state fined clubowners. According to a spokesperson for the state's Department of Business & Professional Regulations, El Toro Loco failed to respond to a request by PBSO to keep patrons from parking illegally near private residences and to keep them from loitering near the entrance. The agency issued a $1,000 fine.

But that appears to be the only law enforcement activity. A spokesperson for PBSO told me that the agency's collaborating with the state in scrutinizing El Toro Loco's compliance with anti-nuisance laws. That would have to be the basis for any action to order the nightclub's closure. The investigation of the homicide that occurred in August and the one that occurred in December 2008 (involving a suspected snitch who was lured from the club and then stabbed in a van) are otherwise being handled independently, according to PBSO.

There was no answer at the club itself when I called this afternoon.

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Thomas Francis