License revoked for Kennesaw bar where shooting occurred

screenshot of Kennesaw City Council zoom meetingscreenshot of Kennesaw City Council zoom meeting

By Rebecca Gaunt

Cafe Zodiac Bar & Grill’s license has been revoked after police discovered several code violations during an aggravated assault investigation.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on March 21, Kennesaw police responded to a call involving shots fired in the parking lot of the establishment at 2500 N. Cobb Pkwy. During the course of an argument outside, a man allegedly retrieved a gun from his vehicle, fired toward the establishment and hit a woman in the neck. The victim was treated at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital and the man has been charged in the incident.

While investigating the shooting, officers discovered code violations resulting in 16 citations. According to Officer Scott Luther, who testified in front of the Liquor Review Board and Kennesaw City Council, some patrons were identified as being underage and had been admitted after paying an extra $20-$40 fee on top of the $20 cover charge.

“During the investigation, the detectives gathered a lot of names that were in the parking lot when the original incident happened. After they got back to the office, they were able to find out that a lot of the names that were given, the dates of birth were very young,” Luther told the Council Monday.

Further investigation revealed a $500 raffle being conducted and a social media promotion that said “Ladies free all night, guys pay $10 until 12 AM, $20 after. Fellas bring ya $1s you know the vibes.” Both are violations of codes prohibiting promotions for the purpose of increasing the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises and adult entertainment.

According to the report at the council meeting, owner Leyland Benn also had five security guards on site, two armed and three unarmed, without proper permitting, and he was operating without a business license. Despite being told to cease business operations, Luther said Benn continued to open.

Benn submitted a letter to withdraw his business license application from the city and surrender his alcohol permit on April 13. At the April 16 meeting of the License Review Board, city attorney Jamie Wingler noted that by relinquishing his license, Benn can reapply the following day. If it is revoked, he must wait 12 months. The LRB voted to revoke 3-0.

City Council ratified the action 5-0 at Monday’s meeting. Benn did not attend either meeting.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.

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