Update, 8/8: Licensing Board found club was not at fault.
Barely 15 minutes after four men paid off a doorman to let them into Society on High one March night even though the club was full to capacity and they did not meet the club dress code, they got involved in a shoving match that turned into a knife fight that sent four men to the hospital - one with injuries serious enough to have homicide detective summoned just in case - BPD detectives and the club's owner told the Boston Licensing Board this morning.
A Suffolk County grand jury will soon begin deliberations to try to figure out who to charge for the stabbings, which left blood pooling inside the club and in trails that stretched in several directions outside on High Street, a detective told the board at a hearing on the incident.
Society on High owner Ian Just said 25 club workers lost their jobs when he shut down the nightclub part of Society on High following the March 31 knife brawl; he now just runs the establishment as a restaurant that closes at 10 p.m.
According to Just, his attorney attorney, Dennis Quilty, and police, around 1 a.m. that night, four men paid a doorman to let them skip the line outside and get in, despite the number of people already inside and despite the fact they were not dressed to club specifications, which banned "sportswear" such as track jerseys, sneakers and ball caps.
A little more than 15 minutes later, the group got into a shoving match with another group, they said. Quilty said bar bouncers quickly moved in to break things up and escort the shovers out, some while being bear hugged - and to call 911 - but even in that short period of time, the knives came out and their owners began lunging. Two men wound up getting stabbed or stabbing somebody else as they were being escorted out, one detective said.
Police who responded to numerous 911 calls found three victims outside, blood inside the club and "multiple blood trails" leading away from the club. A fourth victim later got himself to a hospital, the detective said. One victim was taken away in critical condition, but, ultimately, all four survived, he said.
One "bloody knife" was found inside Society on High, a second one across the street, he added.
Just said the club normally had a police detail officer on duty during nightclub hours, but that he called in sick that night.
Police said Just and club workers were cooperative, and handed over video from surveillance cameras.
The board decides Thursday whether the club could have done anything to prevent the bloodshed and, if so, whether it warrants any sort of punishment.