UPDATED: Man Pulls Knife Outside Phoenix

Concert goer steals merchandise then pulls a knife as vendor chases him during hip hop concert

This story was updated at 4:25pm with new information and interview with Phoenix manager.

An 18-year-old Healdsburg man was arrested Monday night outside after he threatened someone with a knife, according to police.

Jeronimo Cervantes was arrested after he stole a belt buckle during a hip hop show and was chased by a vendor, according to police. While outside, he went to his car, where he got a knife and threatened to stab the vendor. A police officer was passing by and was able to apprehend Cervantes.

Police say hip-hop concerts are sometimes a source of trouble at the theater because they draw older crowds, including people who carry weapons. In 2008, two young men who attended a concert at the Phoenix were chased and shot near the Keller Street Garage.

Management has said that they check for weapons at the door and do research on groups before booking them to make sure they don't promote drugs and violence in their music.

Tom Gaffey, manager of the Phoenix, emphasized that Cervantes did not bring a knife into the show, but went back to his car to retrieve it.

"We do major pat downs and had 25 security officers on duty," Gaffery said. "We had the building covered, the sidewalk covered. Unfortunately, this is a security situation that comes up from time to time."

The hip-hop artist that was playing at the Phoenix Monday night was Tech N9ne, whose stage name is taken from Tech-9, a semi-automatic handgun. The artist, whose real name is Aaron Dontez Yates, sings about guns and violence, along with topics like racism, abortion and poverty. (Check out the YouTube video on the right, complete with lyrics.)

But Gaffey defended the pick of artist, describing the show as "dance-oriented, with high production value. When we have shows with people playing blues or pop stuff, we get 70 people who show up. Last night, we had 700. This show was sold out."

He also added that he realized that Tech N9ne sings about gangs and other controversial issues, but defended him as "someone who is real, who hangs out with the kids and who really cares."

"This kind of unfortunate event happens at the fair, at the high schools and nobody ever feels threatened. So why is it such a shock when it happens here?" 

Mazeltov June 22, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Devin Castles June 22, 2011 at 03:36 AM
LT has it exactly right. I can't think of a single person who has done more for at-risk youth in this community than Tom Gaffey. Not sure why Patch asking if we should ban all hip hop concerts at The Phoenix. I don't think Hiero and Zion I are the problem. Fights break out at The Rocks and Maguire's all the time, but no one is proposing we prohibit bars from playing Top 20 songs or dance hit mash-ups.
happykim June 22, 2011 at 05:04 PM
This kind of thing can happen anywhere, no matter what music is playing. Tom does so very much for our community as a whole and for teens, especially. Music is a refuge for the teens and Tom provides a very cool venue for young artists in town. I'd like to see more teens working on their music or at least something! I see so much of our local youth drifting without jobs or being in school, just hanging out. We need more organizations like the Phoenix. Maybe a local WPA program would do the lost youth some good!
Lynn King June 22, 2011 at 09:43 PM
agree that Tom and the Phoenix do a great deal for the youth in our community, and offer a safe place for them to be. The trouble seems to happen when there are shows and there is an influx of kids and young adults who aren't vested in the community or the success of the Phoenix as a youth program, but instead just want to hang out in a night club.. How do we as a community help the Phoenix staff and management during that time of high energy and emotion?


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