DA looking into Midtown club where 3 deputies were shot

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Several investigations have been opened into a Midtown nightclub after five people were shot in the parking lot on early Sunday morning.

Houston police said a fight broke out at Club Set in the 2900 block of Travis Street as it was closing around 2:20 a.m.

Three uniformed off-duty Harris County deputies working an extra job at the club heard gunshots and went to the parking lot. Investigators said 25-year-old Joseph Anthony Gonzalez confronted the deputies with a gun and shot all three of them.

Investigators said one of the deputies returned fire and hit Gonzalez.

During the confrontation, Gonzalez's mother was shot in the leg and died at the hospital. The investigation into whose gunfire hit her is ongoing.

READ MORE: Suspect's mother identified as Midtown shooting victim

Since then, Sean Teare with the District Attorney's Office said Club Set has moved to the top of their Alcohol Compliance and Enforcemnt Task Force's list of investigations. The DA's office was given a grant to investigate "crime driver" establishments.

Teare said they beefed up enforcement at the beginning of December, and since then, they have prosecuted seven bar owners and shut down three establishments completely.

He said not to be surprised if action is taken against Club Set very soon.

LISTEN: Deputies call out for help during shooting

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All three deputies were working off-duty jobs when they responded to a fight in progress at the Travis Street nightclub. That's when someone began shooting, killing one woman and i

"We are going to find out if they should have even been open," Teare said. "If not, we are going to remedy that. We are going to arrest and charge people if it's appropriate, and we are going to close establishments if they should have been closed before this."

Technically, the Midtown nightclub can be open, despite state and local orders to close bars and clubs because of the pandemic.

TABC said Club Set was reclassified as a restaurant in September after applying for a food and beverage license, which requires at least 51% of the establishment's sales to be food.

More than 3,000 establishments statewide have done the same to allow them to operate during the pandemic.

"From what we've gathered so far, they don't have the appropriate kitchen, and they don't have the appropriate meals to have that license," Teare said.

Despite deputies being on site while the club is operating to get a firsthand look at possible violations, HCSO said members of their office who working extra jobs are only there to enforce state laws. House rules, which include social distancing, mask wearing, reduced capacity and their agreement with TABC, are up to the business to enforce and the fire marshal's office, according to a HCSO spokesperson.

WATCH: Joint briefing on overnight shooting involving 3 deputies outside Midtown nightclub

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A gunman opened fire on a crowd at the club in the 2900 block of Travis Street overnight, injuring three Harris County deputies and killing a woman in her 40s, according to Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner sounded off on Twitter on Sunday night following the shooting.

"Three deputies were injured and a woman killed at the SET Nightclub early this morning. #TABC has allowed them to operate as a restaurant though Harris County would say no due to the pandemic. This is a straight up nightclub and should not have been open."

When asked for a response, TABC said the following:

"TABC's number one priority is keeping the people of Texas safe. The agency is enforcing state rules and laws to protect Texans during this historic pandemic. TABC has opened an investigation to determine if actions by the business or staff may have contributed to this tragic loss of life. We will continue our efforts to work with officials from Harris County and Houston to address their concerns and respond to any potential issues at businesses we regulate. It should be noted, out of the 26,000 inspections TABC has conducted statewide since mid-2020, fewer than 300 have required formal action by the agency. We're grateful to the tens of thousands of Texas businesses who have placed safety first and continue to ensure the health of their customers and employees."

Club Set could not be reached for comment on Monday.

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