Bar owner shot in drive-by attack

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — Police are investigating a drive-by shooting that targeted the owner of a recently re-opened bar with a troubled history.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the gunfire — about 2 a.m. June 28 — may have been in retaliation for an earlier problem at White Rhino, 22615 Goddard. Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said there had been disruptive customers at the bar who had been asked to leave.

“The owner appeared to have been trying to do the right thing,” Sclabassi said. “He’d asked the individuals who were causing problems to leave the location.”

Not long after the ejection of several customers, Sclabassi said a vehicle drove by the bar, from which several shots were fired at the building. Owner Tony Gjoka was reportedly struck in the lower leg and was treated and released from the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Gjoka had only recently re-opened White Rhino, which city officials had ordered closed in March, not long after gunshots had been fired in the parking lot earlier that month.

Along with neighbor complaints and a history of violence and discharged weapons, the business had been found in violation of several building and safety codes.

Owners Tony and Lena Gjoka appeared soon after before the City Council and promised to restore the business and maintain a safe environment. Sclabassi said the business had taken care of the violations and had re-opened in time for summer.

Sclabassi said investigators were looking into the shooting, and anyone with information should call 734-287-6611.

(James Mitchell can be reached at