Monday, December 11, 2017
Public safety

Quail Hollow clubhouse owner fires manager, cancels parties after Sunday's shooting and stampede

WESLEY CHAPEL — Anna Spenceley spent her Sunday evening with the doors locked and the security system armed. Later that night, she heard helicopters flying overhead.

A Haitian Flag Day celebration at Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club led to gunshots and hundreds of people stampeding outside the club house. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said no one was killed, one person was shot and two pregnant women were trampled. Deputies are still looking for whoever fired a semiautomatic rifle during the party.

Spenceley, who has lived in Quail Hollow for 29 years, said the shooting doesn't surprise her after months of big parties every other weekend.

"We were kind of waiting for the bubble to burst," said the 49-year-old resident.

After Sunday's incident, Pasco sheriff's Cpl. Chris Davila said the club's owner is trying to change that. Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club owner Salvatore Carollo fired the company that managed the club, according to the Sheriff's Office, and cancelled all future events — two of which were big, private parties selling tickets that were scheduled over the coming month.

However, the club's Facebook page said that only "paid entry" events were cancelled.

The Sheriff's Office said inspectors from several county agencies descended on the country club on Wednesday and issued four citations to Carollo's club and one to the management company that ran the clubhouse. Total fines: $2,690.

The club and management company were cited for not having a permit to hold Sunday's event, the agency said. The club was also cited for failing to have properly displayed addresses; failing to get a permit to use a shipping container for storage; and using a prohibited banner to advertise food at the clubhouse's restaurant.

The corporal said Carollo also vowed to tear down the music stage and get rid of the pool.

"He seems pretty serious about wanting to fix the issue out there," Davila said.

Carollo, 58, could not be reached for comment. The owner of the management company, Kenneth Sohl, 58, declined to comment on Thursday.

Davila said these are the first citations for ordinance violations issued to Quail Hollow.

"We've never had anything to the scale of someone being shot out there," the corporal said. "We've had the occasional fight and noise complaint, minor issues. Nothing crazy."

The Sheriff's Office has received 95 reports of a "disturbance" at the club house at 6225 Old Pasco Road over the past five years. Most of those calls were due to noise problems.

Resident Debbie Wheeler, 68, said she hopes the club house keeps its stage and pool. To her, the real lesson from Sunday is that the clubhouse should have hired adequate security.

The party's organizer, Nesly Eliscart, told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday that the club's owner was supposed to have eight security guards there, but only five showed up. The Sheriff's Office could not confirm whether that was the case.

Wheeler has lived in Quail Hollow for 17 years and said that to her, what happened Sunday was an isolated incident, not a sign of long-standing problems.

"We were not terrified that this was something that was bound to happen," she said.

Contact Chris Bowling at cbowling@tampabay.com or at (813) 435-7308. Follow @chrismbowling.

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