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Posted at 07:47 PM ET, 08/09/2011

Woman injured in drive-by shooting outside Capitol Heights nightclub dies, police say

The 20-year-old woman who was critically wounded early Monday morning in a drive-by shooting outside a Capitol Heights nightclub died Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

Jasmine Jerona Banks, 20, was shot in the head as she stood outside the MSG night club just before 3 a.m. Monday, said Deputy Chief Kevin Davis, who heads the Prince George’s County police’s bureau of patrol. Another 20-year-old man was also grazed in the back by the gunfire, though he was expected to survive, Dais said.

Davis said investigators were looking for a vehicle that was spotted traveling east in the 7900 block of Central Avenue around that time, and they believed the shots were fired from that vehicle. Otherwise, he said, they had few leads on a suspect and motive in the case.

The incident sparked discussion among police commanders and other county officials about whether to take action against the club under a new county law that gives the police chief wide latitude to shutter dance venues that lack proper permits or are deemed threats to public safety. Those discussions were ongoing Tuesday evening.

Eric Pickens, a managing partner at MSG, said Tuesday afternoon that he was bracing for some type of police action against the club — though he planned to fight that action in court. He said investigators had told him the shooters might have been people turned away by club security, and the victims were innocent bystanders. The woman, Pickens said, was a patron at the club, and the man was a promoter for another club, simply in the area passing out flyers.

“As of right now, I’m really concerned more so for the senseless violence,” Pickens said. “It’s always the innocent person.”

Pickens acknowledged there was dancing at MSG the night of the shooting — a possible violation of the new county bill, since MSG is not licensed as a “dance hall” — but he said he believes the venue should be allowed to host dancing as a licensed restaurant and banquet hall. He said other area restaurants sometimes have dancing, and they should be allowed to do so with or without a specific “dance hall” license.

“That’s probably where it will become a legal challenge,” Pickens said. “It may be the time that we would actually have to challenge that law if they proceed.”

By  |  07:47 PM ET, 08/09/2011

Categories:  Matt Zapotosky, Pr. George's, Homicide

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