The owner of Momo's Bar & Grill, a Holbrook nightspot recently thrust into the limelight after a fatal stabbing occurred outside its doors, has spoken to Patch about the incident, expressing his sorrow for the victim and his family.
Rich Comunala, who opened Momo's three and a half years ago after taking it over from "Murphy's Law," said that the bar had very little involvement in the incident, and that the alleged killer was actually denied entry to the establishment. Last night police revealed that they are charging 19-year-old Robert Gregory for the murder of 29-year-old Julian Pena.
The fatal stabbing took place shortly after midnight on Tuesday night, when police say Pena and another man were involved in a brawl between Gregory, Reuben Rosario, 28, and some other unidentified men in the parking lot outside the bar.
According to Comunala, Pena was inside the bar having drinks with friends when he left with a friend and walked across the street to the 7-Eleven. Comunala said that while Pena was gone, the group of men involved in the fight attempted to enter Momo's but were turned away by a Momo's bouncer.
"They looked like trouble," Comunala said when asked why they were stopped. "They were drinking in the parking lot already." Comunala added that Pena and his friend encountered the men on the way back to the bar, but didn't know what sparked the brawl. "Nobody knows what happened or what was said. We don’t know why it occurred."
News of the killing sparked a stream of comments on Sachem Patch and other news outlets. Some comments Comunala takes issue with.
"I’ve been reading a lot of comments from people on places like Newsday, and a lot of people think it had something to do with the bar," Comunala said. "It had nothing to do with the bar. I guess everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but we feel horrible that this happened. We do a lot of charity work, especially for Sachem."
Comunala said that the bar employs two bouncers on the weekend and one bouncer during the week. Since this incident happened on a weekday, there was one bouncer on shift.
"And it’s not because we have problems," he said. "Some people get bouncers because they have problems; I have bouncers because we don’t have problems."
According to Comunala, when the bouncer saw the fight break out in the parking lot he immediately called police. Gregory is scheduled to be arraigned in court today on a second degree murder charge.