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D.C. Suspends Club's License

Brown was born and raised in Washington and graduated from Spingarn Senior High School in 1992. He dreamed of being a chef and attended a culinary school at night in Virginia for several months in the late 1990s, family members said.

Relatives said the father of three young children loved to dance. On the night he was killed, he was partying with a group of relatives celebrating a nephew's birthday. Family members said they hoped the club would be shut down.

Patrons dance at Club U, a restaurant that has leased space in the Reeves Municipal Center since 1993 and that becomes a go-go club two nights a week. (2003 Photo Dudley M. Brooks -- The Washington Post)

"My brother went there to have a good time," said Alfreda Brown, 46. "He went there and he didn't come back to us. They should have had more security in that place."

Before Club U, the space inside the Reeves Center was occupied by a restaurant called Ed Murphy's Supper Club. In October 1993, the Williamses and a business partner, Paul Gwynn, bought out Ed Murphy's and signed a 10-year lease with the city. During the day, Club U offers sandwiches and pizza in a cafeteria-style restaurant called Coach & Four. But on Thursday and Saturday nights, the place morphs into Club U.

Kim Campbell, a bartender at the club who was counting her tips when the stabbing took place, said the club is generally safe and the security excellent.

She described a gantlet of security checks that patrons must go through to enter the club and said that as many as a dozen off-duty D.C. police officers supplement the club's private security team.

In the late 1990s, the District tried to evict Club U, contending that the owners had violated their lease by staging late-night events without permission. The city's complaint cited property damage, trash, fights and "urine in the stairwells of the building."

Club U's owners responded by suing the city in Superior Court, charging that the District was violating the lease by at times closing the lobby and parking lot. In December, the city and club owners agreed that the club would leave the Reeves building within 24 months.

Staff writer David Nakamura contributed to this report.

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