ST. LOUIS — Patrons of Sasha’s On Shaw were greeted Monday morning with a handwritten note on the door announcing the business was closed “until further notice” following a shooting at the wine bar on Saturday night.
The shooting stunned residents and stirred neighborhood discussions. But several residents said it would not keep them from the wine bar in the future.
“I think people are a little bit shocked that something like this would happen in an establishment like Sasha’s,” Ward 8 Alderman Annie Rice said. “But gun violence is not specific to a type of place in our world.”
Shooting broke out before 10 p.m. in the busy bar on Saturday night, leaving three people with injuries and sending customers into a panic. One man in his 30s was seriously injured with a gunshot wound to his mouth. A woman sustained a shrapnel wound to her arm and another man suffered a graze wound.
Information about the circumstances of the shooting is scant; Rice said police told her that it was an “isolated incident” and they are still searching for the shooter. Police have not released an update on the conditions of the shooting victims.
Ryan Jenkins, who has lived in the Shaw neighborhood for several years, said there’s “a lot of anxiety” about the shooting on Nextdoor, a neighborhood social media site. “It’s crazy,” he said. But he added that he and several neighbors won’t let it stop them from going to Sasha’s.
“I hope it doesn’t deter anybody,” Jenkins said.
Tom Halaska, who lives just behind the wine bar, was the general manager at Sasha’s for several years. He called Sasha’s a “neighborhood bar.”
“I don’t think this neighborhood will allow that business to fail,” he said.
During the time he was general manager, Halaska said, he never dealt with any major incidents, at least “nothing different from any other bar.” They had the occasional car break-in, he said.
Glenda and Dylan Judson, waiting at a bus stop near Sasha’s, said they heard the gunshots Saturday night and thought they were fireworks. More often, they hear music coming from the local haunt.
Jim Aubuchon, Dylan Judson’s father, was shocked to hear about the shooting, he said, but it didn’t change how he feels about Shaw, where he’s lived for five years.
“It’s quiet, maybe a couple car break-ins,” he said. “I feel safe.”
Rice, the alderman, said the area has seen a spike in armed robberies, but she and neighborhood leaders are responding by giving police access to local security cameras and asking for more police presence.
Property crime dropped slightly in Shaw compared with these same six months last year, but violent crime, such as robberies, has increased moderately, police said. There have been six reported aggravated assaults from March to August 2019, compared to two in the same period in 2018, and 13 robberies during the same time period this year, compared with eight last year.
Shaw’s per capita crime rate remains low compared with most other St. Louis neighborhoods.
“People want answers,” Rice said. “They want to know (the victims are) going to be OK, and when can we kind of get back to business as usual.”