The Goose Creek tavern where bar staff allegedly robbed, assaulted, and kidnapped customers on Saturday was reportedly open after closing time, according to a Goose Creek police report. The time of the alleged incident at Two Keys Tavern on College Park Road occurred at approximately 6 a.m., four hours after the mandatory closing time for bars within Goose Creek city limits. The closing time applies to bars whether they are serving alcohol or not.
Yesterday, Goose Creek police officers searched the bar “for the purpose of collecting and preserving evidence related to the alleged crimes,” according to Capt. John Grainger of the Goose Creek Police Department. Grainger declined to comment any further on the matter since officers are continuing to investigate the incident.
According to the incident report, the officer was told by victim No. 2, Matthew Paul Laberge, “that he had been watching other patrons while they gambled on pool games” at Two Keys. At some point, the unnamed bar manager allegedly covered the bet of a patron, who later “slipped out the front door without paying his debt.” Laberge then told the officer that the Two Keys manager “became irate and ordered the bouncers of the establishment to lock the doors.” The report notes that an estimated 20 people, including employees, may have been inside the bar at that point.
Victim No. 2 then told police that “the bar manager and bouncers began demanding that someone come up with the money or someone was going to get her.” The officer notes that victim No. 2 “pleaded that he had only been watching while the bets were made.” According to victim No. 2, things soon became violent: “Laberge stated that the bouncer … took the thicker end of the pool stick in his hand and approached [victim No. 1] Robert Drawdy from behind.” The report states that at that time, the unnamed bouncer “struck Drawdy in the back of the head with the pool stick, temporarily rendering him unconscious.”
The bouncer then reportedly set his sights on victim No. 2, chasing him around the bar before Laberge “took $100 of his own money and threw it on a table.” Shortly thereafter, the report notes that the bar manager then allegedly “unlocked the front door and instructed all the patrons to get out and ‘not to fuck with Two Keys.'” Once victims No. 1 and 2 were outside, Laberge noticed that Drawdy was “bleeding heavily from the back of his head,” so the pair went to Trident Hospital. Victim No. 1 had a laceration on his head that was five inches long and one inch wide.
According to the report, the officer spoke with two other individuals who “provided their account of the incident, which was consistent with Laberge’s statement.”
When the officer later met with Drawdy, victim No. 1 stated he “had been at Two Keys Tavern from an unknown time until” 6 a.m. and that tavern staff allegedly collected money from Drawdy, Laberge, and the two other patrons who spoke with police.
The unnamed suspects have been charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, and assault and battery.
The owner of Two Keys Tavern Mark Keller has issued the following statement:
“We are doing everything possible to investigate this situation to determine exactly what purportedly happened at Two Keys Tavern on Friday night. The manager and employees allegedly involved have been suspended while we look into the allegations and attempt to uncover precisely what happened. At this time, we are working to secure a police report, and hope that will also help to clarify what occurred there late Friday night/early Saturday morning. Until that time, we can’t elaborate further, since we just don’t know enough, but we will get to the bottom of it. We have a loyal clientele we value and want to continue to serve. They and others can rest assured that we won’t rest until we sort out what exactly happened and get this resolved.”
As for the alleged victims’ claims that the incident took place after the mandatory 2 a.m. shutdown, Elizabeth Boineau, of E. Boineau and Company, who is handling press inquiries for Two Keys, confirms that “the incident occurred after their closing time.” However, Boineau notes that “we can’t comment further on that because there are conflicting versions of exactly what happened and when.”
Stay cool. Support City Paper.
City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.