3 U-Md. students, another man cut with knife after fight spills out of the Thirsty Turtle

By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 12, 2010; 8:31 PM

Four young men - including three University of Maryland students - were cut and wounded early Tuesday morning when a drunken altercation inside an off-campus bar continued outside, police said.

The incident began just after 1 a.m., when the three students - two are 19 and the other is 20 - got into an argument with another man inside the Thirsty Turtle in College Park, said Maj. Robert Liberati, the Prince George's County police department's District I commander.

Bar employees ejected those who were fighting, Liberati said, but "when they got outside, they carried on the argument across the street." The man then produced a folding knife and cut the three students and a 23-year-old man who tried to intervene, police officials said.

None of the injuries was believed to be life-threatening, police said. One student was cut on the cheek and the other two on their backs, Liberati said. The 23-year-old, who is not a student, was cut on his right side. Three had been released from a hospital Tuesday afternoon, and the fourth was expected to be released later, authorities said.

Liberati said all of those involved seemed to have met in the bar that night.

He said all were "willing participants in a fight" and were intoxicated. Investigators are still looking for the suspect, distinguishable by a black mohawk haircut.

It is unclear what sparked the fight , Liberati said.

He said investigators had recovered a knife, although they were uncertain whether it was the one used in the cuttings, and were reviewing surveillance footage to see if it captured the incident.

Deputy Chief Kevin Davis, who heads the county's patrol bureau, said the victims were too intoxicated to provide a detailed account of what happened.

It also remains unclear how the underage students got into the bar, Liberati said.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, University of Maryland Police Chief David B. Mitchell said they will not be disciplined because they were crime victims.

He and other officials took aim at the Thirsty Turtle for admitting them.

Last month, Mitchell said, two underage students working undercover for the police gained admission to the bar using their real IDs and were served alcohol.

"In short, the Thirsty Turtle has become an attractive nuisance," Mitchell said. "I'm ready to padlock it tonight. But it's not my call."

The Thirsty Turtle was cited in connection with the sting operation and could be cited for the recent incident, said John McGroarty, a liquor inspector with the Prince George's Board of License Commissioners. He said it has been cited three times in the past two years.

A manager at the bar said about 4 p.m. that someone would return a reporter's call. No one had done so as of Tuesday evening.

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