CHARLOTTE — Community members and regular patrons of an uptown bar where a fatal stabbing incident on Sunday left one woman dead and another jailed on murder charges gathered at the business Wednesday night to show their support for the establishment’s owners.

The owners of Hartigan’s Irish Pub deny allegations that they prevented a first responder and a nurse from assisting 30-year-old victim Antoinette Latoya Baker. Thirty-two-year-old Katie Nicole Robinson is accused in the crime.

In the face of the controversy, community members said it was important to support one of the city’s few gay-owned nightlife and dining establishments.

“I think it’s tragic what happened here,” said Dan Mauney, who encouraged attendees of his popular Takeover Friday events to show up in support of Hartigan’s. “It’s important to rally around these girls who have been a cornerstone and pillar in the community.”

Mauney said he’s sent the Baker family his condolences. The bar is also collecting donations and condolences with a special deposit box flanked with fresh flowers placed near the entrance.

While Baker’s family and friends grieve, Mauney said it’s also important to support a business that has regularly given back to the community.

“Hartigan’s has given for years,” Mauney said. “They’ve supported the community for years. There’s a long list of organizations they’ve financially supported.”

In a show of solidarity, South End’s Bar at 316, another local gay and lesbian bar, delayed their opening.  Co-owners Mark Puckett and Rodney Hines were at Hartigan’s.

“It’s about being one community and supporting other local gay establishments,” Puckett said. “We love [Hartigan’s co-owners] Bethany and Jill and the other girls and will do everything we can to support them as we would any other gay bar.”

Among those who also showed up Wednesday were members of Southern Country Charlotte, a gay Country Western dancing and enthusiasts organization. The group, also known for the philanthropic giving to several local LGBT organizations, held their regularly-scheduled weekly dance lessons on Wednesday. They are slated to hold their annual Queen City Stomp dance festival at Hartigan’s in April.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.