Relatives of slain men file lawsuit against club
Family claims Pink Monkey manager escalated the fight
The family of two slain stepbrothers is suing the strip club where the men were killed for damages and loss of companionship, according to court records.
Six people are suing the Pink Monkey Cabaret, claiming a manager fired shots that escalated an argument May 31 involving stepbrothers Jose Hernandez, 24, and Arturo Rodriguez Jr., 26, at the club in northeastern Travis County.
Jorge Gutierrez, 28, was arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the shootings and remains in the Travis County Jail with bail set at $1 million. A surveillance video from the club, at 9705 Reservoir Court, shows Gutierrez involved in a fistfight with the stepbrothers, according to the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff’s officials said they were still investigating what caused the fight, but the sister of Hernandez and Rodriguez told police that a female customer at the club had accused their 15-year-old brother of stealing her iPhone, which led to the fight and shooting.
The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday and seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial,
Continued from B says “the shooting was the result of a fight which was started when defendant’s dancer accused the minor of stealing her iPhone and escalated to shooting after defendant’s manager discharged a firearm.”
Capt. Art Cardenas with the sheriff’s office said Thursday that witnesses told officers that they saw a security guard fire shots outside the club, but he could not confirm whether shots were fired by an employee of the Pink Monkey.
Club managers did not return phone calls Thursday.
Cardenas said the Pink Monkey had a few incidents involving weapons prior to the shooting.
“The club came into our radar around spring break, when a drive-by took place,” Cardenas said. “Then not too long after that, the homicides took place.”
He said that since the slayings, the club has complied with sheriff’s office requests to tighten security and dress codes and to add more lighting to the parking lot.
“Even with good security measures in place, you just can’t predict or control when something like this will happen,” Cardenas said.
Gutierrez’s arrest affidavit said that on the night of the slayings, he was seen going to a pickup, retrieving a gun and returning to shoot the men. Eleven witnesses identified Gutierrez as the gunman and also describe him fleeing in a white pickup, according to his affidavit.
Gutierrez, of Manor, had been the target of a major cocaine trafficking investigation since February, according to federal court documents.
He’s suspected of leading a group that smuggled loads of cocaine from Mexico to Austin and to northern Virginia in recent years, according to a federal affidavit filed in June by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
The attorney for the victims’ family, R. Gary Laws of Corpus Christi, did not return calls Thursday.