Wayside to add metal detectors to security
Wayside Central will now use handheld metal detectors and introduce other security measures after a Feb. 22 fight in the nightclub left three people with knife wounds.
A 19-year-old Central Michigan University student, Octayvious Sanchez-Lewis, of Farmington Hills, was arraigned on Feb. 24 on three counts of assault with intent to murder and two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent. Two of the men injured are CMU students.
Wayside owner John Hunter said using metal detectors will help make customers and employees feel safe after the Feb. 22 fight.
“We naturally felt like it would be the next step that people would want,” Hunter said. “It makes complete sense.”
Metal detectors weren’t in use before the incident, Hunter said, because Wayside has never had an incident with weapons being brought inside the club. In the 20 years he’s worked at Wayside, no one that he knows of ever recommended the club use metal detectors.
Along with the metal detectors, Hunter said Wayside will be adding new lighting on the roof to better illuminate the parking lot. The club will also add 16 cameras to its 32-camera system, update its handbook and risk management plan and hold more employee meetings to discuss the security protocols.
Some of these new security measures address parking lot safety. In October 2011, there was a semi-automatic handgun stolen from a locked car in the Wayside parking lot, according to an article form Central Michigan Life. More recently in 2018, there was an incident involving two men firing gunshots in the air.
When it comes to the response of the Wayside staff the night of Feb. 22, Hunter said the emergency response protocol worked as it should have. After one of the men was injured, he walked off the dance floor with security staff and a bartender tended to the wound by using duct tape to stop the bleeding.
General manager Orlando Delagarza said his first priority was getting medical attention to the wounded. Then it was securing the safety of people inside the club and helping connect police officers with witnesses.
The suspect used a 3-inch kitchen knife with a holding sheath as the weapon and also had a "thin blue razor blade-style utility knife" in his wallet, according to police. As to how Sanchez-Lewis was able to bring weapons into Wayside, Hunter said it’s not staff policy to check incoming customers for weapons. Wayside security also does not pat down customers because that is not standard procedure for college bars. Purses and bags are checked before going into the club.
Some students questioned why the club remained open while police searched for the suspect. Hunter said the decision was made by Wayside management and the police departments at the scene.
Police wanted to create a perimeter to see if the suspect was outside of Wayside. They also wanted to keep the customers indoors, Hunter said, because officers didn’t want people going outside or to places where the suspect could be hiding.
If the music was turned off, Delagarza said, it was likely that everyone would have started leaving the club.
“When the music goes off, (customers) don’t naturally look at the time,” Delagarza said. “They just start going. They know if the music is off, it’s the end of the night.”
Wayside closed immediately after the suspect was apprehended.
Overall, Hunter wants students to know that the staff has taken new security steps to make Wayside safer.
“We have taken all the security steps we can to make (Wayside) a safe environment,” John said. “Evil exists everywhere. We can’t deter that like just you couldn’t in a church or a school.”
Wayside is not the only club in Mount Pleasant that's reviewing its security policies. Encore, The Nightclub currently does not have metal detectors but is researching changes to its current security methods, said owner Rich Swindlehurst.