PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY
A Bowie Man is Fatally Shot and Six Are Injured in an Incident Outside a Bar at the Boulevard at Capital Centre
Monday, March 2, 2009
One man was killed and six other people were injured after an argument in a crowded Largo sports bar ended in a burst of gunfire just outside the main entrance early yesterday, Prince George's County police said.
The fight began at the Sideline, police said, a restaurant and bar owned by former Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington that features live music and other events. It was the second dramatic outbreak of violence at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre, an upscale shopping center boasting several celebrity affiliations, and one more in a string of deadly late-night incidents at clubs in the county.
Last year, the Boulevard was the site of a triple homicide. Three men were fatally shot after a fight broke out during the 2008 Super Bowl and spilled into the parking lot outside a restaurant.
On Saturday night, a band was playing at the Sideline and an argument began inside the crowded club between two groups of patrons who began pushing and shoving one another, said Evan Baxter, a police spokesman.
One group was kicked out of the bar, said Police Chief Roberto Hylton, and when the others went outside, a fight ensued and someone fired into the group.
Vincent Tyrrell Mastin, 35, of Bowie was pronounced dead when officers arrived at the scene just after 2 a.m.
Three other people were taken to hospitals for treatment of gunshot wounds, and three others later went to hospitals , two with gunshot wounds and one with head cuts. Most of the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, but one person was in critical but stable condition yesterday after surgery for multiple gunshot wounds, Hylton said.
Many people had already fled by the time police arrived. Most of the injured were younger than Mastin, and some were from the Landover area, police said. The violence did not appear to be gang-related, Baxter said, and apparently only one person was shooting.
Police are looking for a black male suspect, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and 180 pounds, with dreadlocks. The suspect was last seen wearing jeans and a green jacket.
Nearly the entire police homicide unit reported to work yesterday to pursue the case.
Some residents had hoped that the Boulevard retail center would provide a safe, family-oriented alternative to strip malls that had been plagued by crime. The Boulevard, just inside the Capital Beltway close to FedEx Field, includes a Magic Johnson movie theater, a restaurant associated with Gladys Knight and chain stores including Borders.
In 2007, several clubs in Prince George's were shut down after a string of 11 homicides in 11 days, which police said were connected to violence at clubs. A judge ordered the bars reopened, saying the business owners had not been given adequate warning or specific grounds for the closures.
In the past few months, there has been another surge in violence associated with Prince George's clubs. Two were shut down recently under emergency powers that allow police to padlock businesses linked to criminal activity.
"I continue to be outraged by the level of violence surrounding nightclubs," Hylton said of the most recent shooting. "It seems everyone is carrying a weapon and turning to them to solve disputes."
Hylton said in an interview yesterday that he hopes to initiate policy changes to ensure that the department is notified in advance when events are held at clubs so it can review security measures beforehand. He also said police had not known that a band would be playing at the Sideline.
Hylton said he might request legislation that would give the department additional leverage "to deal with these types of events."
Arrington did not return a message left yesterday on his cellphone. The bar's general manager and security director did not respond to messages left at the Sideline and on a cellphone. Hylton said an off-duty county police officer had been working security at the bar that night.