Witnesses Describe Shooting of 17-Year-Old

By Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Moments before Taleshia Ford was felled by a bullet in a Northwest nightclub this month, the man accused of killing the 17-year-old threatened a bouncer, drew a gun and shouted, "You touch me, I'm going to shoot you!" authorities said yesterday.

Jamel Mackabee, 19, of Silver Spring, who was arrested Monday, had a D.C. Superior Court hearing yesterday afternoon. He is charged with first-degree murder in the deadly shooting Jan. 20 at Smarta/Broadway, a nightspot at 1919 Ninth St. NW.

The killing has again raised questions about nightclub security in the District and about the wisdom of allowing people too young to drink to patronize places where drinking is so much a part of the experience.

In charging papers filed in Superior Court, police and prosecutors describe what witnesses say unfolded in the seconds before and after a fatal shot rang out, a shot that authorities say Mackabee fired.

Magistrate Judge J. Dennis Doyle, after reviewing the account and listening to arguments from the prosecutor, Magdalena A. Bell, and the defendant's attorney, Brandi Harden of the D.C. Public Defender Service, ordered Mackabee held without bond before another hearing Feb. 12.

One of the witnesses was outside the club and told investigators that Mackabee walked into the club and was met by security guards seeking to search him. Instead, Mackabee pushed past them and went to the second floor of the club, according to the account in the charging documents. A short time later, the witness said he heard a gunshot and saw Mackabee running down the steps. "Roll out, roll out!" Mackabee was said to have shouted as he ran.

The other witness was inside the club when the defendant pushed his way in without paying the cover charge, according to the person's account to investigators. A guard stepped in to try to stop Mackabee, and it was at that moment that Mackabee threatened to shoot the security worker.

Drawing a revolver, Mackabee aimed at the security guard, who lunged out of the line of fire, according to the account in the charging documents.

Talesha Ford didn't have a chance to move out of harm's way.

Mackabee fired, authorities say, and Ford was hit in the upper body. When police arrived, she was unconscious. She was taken to Howard University Hospital, and she was pronounced dead just before 3 a.m.

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