Panama City CRA Buys KJ's Nightclub, Site of Fatal Shooting

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PANAMA CITY The Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency is buying KJ's Nightclub and its neighboring property.

That area on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard has seen several shootings since the 1960's...including one in June.

The city is hoping they can now make it safer.

The doors on KJ's nightclub are now locked for good.

Tuesday morning, Panama City CRA members agreed to move forward with the $125,000 purchase of these adjacent properties.

Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki explains the purchase by saying, "There have been some problems outside of that particular business. We've had some - you know what's happened over the past couple of months. It was a consideration before and this kind of helped us make a decision that we needed to do something about it."

Brudnicki is referencing June 9th's fatal shooting of 20 year old J-Shun Smith.

But that's not the first incident in this area.

In April of 2009, police say 34 year old Steven Lopez Baldwin shot a man and then stole his car, leading Panama City Police on a car chase.

In June of the same year, Mark Jason Davis was accused of shooting and killing Joseph Calvin Potter.

Decades before that the area was called "Candy Corner" because of drug and other illegal activity.

But Ward 2 Commissioner Kenneth Brown says, "But it wasn't always that way."

The area falls in Commissioner Kenneth Brown's district, who remembers different days.

Brown adds, "The younger generation has no idea of what it once was, but the older citizens, they still see it as when we had the grill, we had the taxicab stands."

CRA members say they're not entirely sure what they'll be doing with the property once they purchase it.

They do say they want to restore it to what it once was: part of the historical district.

Brown says, "We have an opportunity now through the CRA to reconstruct and tell people, let people know the truth about what happened back in those days. It was great in those days."

As part of the contract, the former owners of KJ's Nightclub will not be allowed to open another bar in Panama City for five years.