D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier orders Shaw nightclub closed after fatal shooting

February 25, 2013

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has ordered a Northwest Washington nightclub and adjacent restaurant in the Shaw neighborhood closed for four days, labeling them a threat to public safety after a man was fatally shot following a dispute inside the club early Saturday.

The proprietors of 1920dc and Asefu’s Restaurant, which are jointly owned, can request a public hearing to regain their liquor license after the order expires and the District’s alcohol regulatory board completes its investigation later this week. Lanier has used this power frequently to keep problem establishments in line.

Saturday’s shooting of 30-year-old Joseph Hardin of Alexandria occurred about 1:15 a.m. outside 1920dc in the 1900 block of Ninth Street NW, according to D.C. police.

The fatal shooting was one of two in the District in a matter of hours. Another Virginia man, 49-year-old Damon Luke Brown of Ashburn, was killed just before 3 a.m. in Southeast.

D.C. police were also investigating a killing that occurred early Sunday evening in the 1400 block of Canal Street SW, about four blocks west of Nationals Park. Police have identified the victim in that case as Tyrone Joyner, 22, of Southeast.

Authorities released few details in the latest two killings, but police made an arrest in Saturday’s nightclub shooting. Cedric Spicer, 24, of Northwest was charged with second-degree murder while armed and was ordered detained until his preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for March in D.C. Superior Court.

Charging documents filed in the case show that the victim got into an argument inside the club and was escorted outside, where the argument continued. Although the altercation took place at the hip-hop club, police shut down Asefu’s, which serves Ethio­pian food, because it holds the liquor license for both establishments.

A short time after the argument, a witness told police, a masked man walked up to the victim “with his arm extended and shot him.” Another witness told police, according to the charging document, that the masked gunman fired at one of the women who was running away from the scene but missed, and then returned to the wounded victim lying on the sidewalk and “fired multiple rounds” into his body.

Police said the gunman had been in the nightclub before the shooting and had been there in the past. Police said a witness identified the gunman from his Facebook page, where he goes by “Young Dro Pak,”a name he also has tattooed on his stomach.

Police said the suspect was arrested after a foot chase by patrol officers. His attorney could not be reached Monday afternoon. The owner of the club and restaurant also could not be reached; a number to the club was not accepting messages.

The club manager, who spoke to The Washington Post over the weekend on the condition of anonymity because the person is a witness in the case, said the gunman had not been in the club and that the dispute inside never got physical. The manager objected to Lanier’s emergency closure.

In her letter to owner, Lanier faulted club managers for not calling police when the initial disturbance broke out, saying that the victim had been threatened. The chief wrote that the “violent crime can be connected directly to the operations of the ‘Asefu’s Restaurant’ establishment, and severely endangers the residents and visitors of this city.”

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