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Downtown theater hires security following neighboring violence

The Studio Theater is changing security measures following the mass shooting that took place over the weekend at Power Ultra Lounge, just one block away. (KATV Photo)

The Studio Theater is changing security measures following the mass shooting that took place over the weekend at Power Ultra Lounge, just one block away.

Owner Bob Bidewell says the theater will now have security on hand for any play or event at the theater.

The Studio Theater is located on 7th street downtown. While Bidewell says the theater's stage is a place of escape for the audience, the reality of violence was too close to home over the weekend when 28 people were injured in a mass shooting at Power Ultra Lounge.

"People come for a reason and to get away from their world and maybe it's a place of safe haven for them to come back," Bidewell said.

Bidewell says they've noticed a lot of traffic coming from the Power Ultra Lounge, but the theater has had few safety problems.

"We've had a lot of noise issues of people coming and going from that location and we kept wondering what was going on over there. We really didn't know. I just always remembered it being a really nice restaurant and had not really understood it had become a club," Bidewell said.

Bidewell says he hopes the shooting is a wake-up call for the city and the police department to hire more officers.

"I know there is a lot that has to be done, but I think the main thing is we need more police officers in Little Rock. I mean that's an obvious issue and I hope that maybe this will be a catalyst to get more officers involved," Bidewell said.

Little Rock Police tell Channel 7 News they are not stepping up security in the area for now because the club has been shut down.

Bidewell says they love being a part of the downtown community and they hope their patrons will feel safe.

"We love Little Rock and we love downtown and we're not going anywhere and I know the other two theaters that are in downtown Little Rock feel the same way," Bidewell said.


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