SALT LAKE CITY — The scene outside of Echo Nightclub in downtown Salt Lake City around 2 a.m. Sunday was chaotic, officers on scene said.
“One more shooting, one more stabbing, one more crazy fight, and people are just going to say, ‘I don't want to go to that place anymore,'" said Rob Joseph, owner of Echo.
A man went to the hospital with critical injuries after the fight outside Echo, which soon turned into a brawl.
“Violence is way up everywhere," said Joseph. "And for whatever reason, anybody [police] deal with, especially in the gang area, they're very emboldened and willing to fight, rather than talk.”
Joseph is currently spending around $300,000 a year on security for his nightclub.
“We’re willing to do that," he said. "I just think it's so important to keep the downtown nightlife alive. We want people to come and enjoy Salt Lake City.”
Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on dozens of security guards and cameras, there's only so much these business owners can do on their own to fight crime. Joseph, who was a police officer himself 20 years ago, believes the Salt Lake City Police Department force has the same amount of people now as it did when he was an officer.
There needs to be more funding for SLCPD and recruiting efforts, he said.
However, Sunday morning's fight broke out right in front of multiple officers, said Michael Ruff, Detective with SLCPD.
“We're still having those issues, which obviously says there's something else going on, because we have some people who are kind of losing that civility, so to speak, and are having a hard time getting along with each other," he said.
Joseph knows officers are trying their best to keep people safe; he will keep working with SLCPD to try to find a way to make downtown a safe place for people to have fun and just enjoy a safe night out.
“Kudos to all the officers," he said. "They are awesome. All the ones that come out here and respond. They're awesome. They take care of stuff. They're constantly apologizing, that they're not able to do stuff or that there's not enough of them or they couldn't get here soon enough.”
Officials are still investigating what happened early Sunday morning. If you have any information, videos or photos, you can contact the Salt Lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000.