Northside Bar & Grill
On June 5, 2021, four people were shot in the parking lot near the Northside Bar & Grill. One died on the scene and another at the hospital with the other two victims expected to make full recoveries.
In the days following, North Shadeland Alliance received an email from one of the managing partners of Northside Bar & Grill requesting a conversation. Because our organization was founded on the philosophy of building alliances and not enemies, we welcomed the opportunity.
Kris Parmelee, a co-founder of North Shadeland Alliance stopped by the Northside Bar & Grill for a conversation with the managing partner. We have opted to change the name of this individual in this article because of the seriousness of the crime that took place and because the suspect remains at large. Here’s what Kris learned in that conversation.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions About Northside Bar & Grill
I had never actually been inside the Northside Bar & Grill bar until the day I met with the managing partner. It wasn’t at all what I expected. I had jumped to conclusions and created a narrative that suited my own needs. A dark, seedy bar with stained carpet and the smell of smoke lingering in the air. I expected the kind of place where a double homicide might happen. But Northside Bar & Grill is actually a very nice neighborhood bar. It is well-lit, tastefully decorated, very clean, and full of smiling faces—a few of whom, as it turns out, I know.
We started our conversation with the managing partner recounting the details of that night in early June. “It was a great night, no problems whatsoever,” Pat said, “We had just closed for the evening, and I went into the kitchen for a snack.” Pat recounts how things when, in the snap of a finger, from low-key to chaos.
Darnell Bell, the primary victim in the shooting, and the group of his friends decided to hit Northside Bar & Grill that evening to shoot some pool and enjoy some drinks. Pat said, “They weren’t regulars, I had never seen them before.” Northside is one of those bars where—and you know what I am going to say here—everybody knowns your name. While they weren’t regulars, they also hadn’t caused any trouble that night. Interior security footage revealed Darnell Bell and his friends having a great time, with no signs of what was about to happen.
Soon, it was closing time. The lights were raised, and the music shut off as patrons were pointed toward the exit. Darnell Bell exited the bar and stepped into the parking lot. As he walked toward his car, a gunman literally jumped from the bushes near Boston Market and shot him at close range. His friend jumped over Darnell’s body to protect him and was subsequently shot and died at the hospital. Two others were also caught in the gunfire but are expected to make full recoveries.
This was a targeted attack on Darnell Bell. Darnell Bell had previously served time for murder—a known and convicted violent felon. He was recently arrested with a handgun and almost immediately released on bail ($7500). This homicide could have happened anywhere—anywhere where Darnell Bell was spending time. He was the target of an ambush.
Northside Bar & Grill Not Responsible
In hearing the actual story of how the evening unfolded, it seems virtually impossible to blame the bar for the double homicide. In fact, Pat and the Northside family are just as upset about this event as the rest of us are. “He put my life—the lives of our staff and all the other patrons—in danger that night, just by coming in here.” said Pat, who is still deeply shaken by the events of that evening.
When news of this homicide broke, I personally mentioned on NextDoor that the bar was to blame. Now, after learning more about what happened that evening, I don’t think it’s fair to blame the bar. Sometimes I think I wish for a simple solution—close that business, get this business in our community—but the truth is, improving our community is a long-term prospect that will take dozens of small changes and maybe a few big ones. Crime in a community is not the fault of a single business, shopping center or corridor. It’s a community-wide—citywide—problem that takes time to change.
Any time you mix alcohol and a crowd there is the propensity for violence. Bars may not always make ideal neighbors, but in this instance, Northside Bar & Grill is not responsible for the double homicide. Here are some other things I learned about Northside Bar & Grill during my conversation with Pat:
- The bar is owned by a graduate of LN who a few years ago gifted a portion of the business to two long-time employees as part of a Christmas bonus
- No one under age 30 is admitted on Friday and Saturday nights
- They employ three security guards to secure the front and back entrances and immediately quell any issues inside the bar
- Everyone who enters the bar is searched for weapons
I am thankful that Northside Bar & Grill took the time to reach out, invite us in and share their experiences. We welcome them as a solid community partner as we continue to work to improve the community surrounding the North Shadeland corridor.