Katie Moore / EyewitnessNews
NEW ORLEANS -- The shooting of five teenagers at a New Orleans restaurant and bar Saturday night raised many questions about why the establishment was hosting a teenage party.
'Just waking up, and I heard three shots and that's when I went to my window, and I seen kids running this way, that way, everywhere,' said Patricia Doughty, an upper 9th Ward resident who lives across the street from B & L Restaurant and Lounge.
Just before midnight on Saturday, a gunman opened fire inside the establishment, wounding four teenagers, killing another, 18-year-old Joshua Brooks.
'We're in the midst of a very thorough investigation. We always call upon the community to help us understand what happened,' said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas at a press conference Monday.
On Sunday, an NOPD press release said the 'bar' was closed to the general public, but hosting a teenage party. 'It was before curfew,' Serpas said.
Investigators passed out Crimstoppers flyers Monday, asking for the public's help in identifying the shooter. Meanwhile, the heat was also on the bar's owners.
'It seems incredulous to me as a father of four teenagers that somehow you had four young people that were in a restaurant slash bar with other adults at that particular point in time,' Mayor Mitch Landrieu said about the party.
'We will investigate the status of their permits and we will investigate under what circumstances they opened that bar on the night before last to have children in there,' Serpas said.
Landrieu's top administrator said B & L had a city alcohol sales permit as a restaurant.
'There's a different set of requirements for restaurants that serve alcohol versus bars that serve alcohol,' said city of New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin.
There is a menu posted outside B & L, but what city and state leaders say they'll be investigating is whether the establishment mostly operates as a restaurant.
'In order to be considered a restaurant, over 50 percent of your sales has to be food,' said Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert.
B &L also had a state liquor, or ABO permit as a bar, according to Hebert.
'Let me make it very clear: if you received a permit to be a bar at no time, even if you own it, you can't close it and say, I'm gonna have a birthday party or I'm gonna have a football party, whatever, for minors,' He said.
Hebert they're also investigating whether B & L is operating too close to a nearby church, a possible violation of state law.
A previous restaurant and bar at the same location was grandfathered in because the church was built after it, but B & L just opened in 2009.
Hebert said state law trumps city laws and that he could decide to revoke the liquor license at B & L, but right now, both he and the city are still investigating.