Eleven persons were wounded in a crowded Charles County restaurant in a Friday night gun battle that authorities said may have followed an argument between two men who have been feuding for at least two years.
Four persons remained hospitalized last night as a result of the incident, which occurred about 11:30 p.m. at the Mattawoman Seafood Restaurant on Rte. 225 in the Mason Springs area of the county.
Although authorities were still trying last night to sort out details of the shootout, they said between 10 and 20 rounds may have been fired. Det. Sgt. Joseph Montminy said that "probably at least three persons" fired blasts or shots, but "it could have been more. It's a pretty good gunfight."
Authorities said they believed that at least three weapons -- two shotguns and a handgun -- were fired. So far as could be determined last night, all the victims were struck with small birdshot, Montminy said.
The sheriff's department said evidence indicated that at least one shotgun blast was fired into the restaurant from outside through a screen door.
One or two members of two county families were described by investigators as the principals in the feud. One party to the feud was apparently at the bar "when a member of the other family entered . . . and an argument ensued," said Det. Robert Cleaveland.
Friday night, according to the sheriff's department, about 75 to 100 people were at the restaurant, which is about two or three miles east of Indian Head. When authorities arrived, several of the wounded were lying on the floor. Others were walking about, according to Cleaveland.
Montminy said a warrant charging a member of one of the families with assault with intent to kill has been obtained, but no arrest has yet been made. He declined to identify the person named in the warrant, and said the investigation is continuing. The original cause of the feud was unclear, authorities said last night.
Authorities said a 62-year-old woman from Indian Head and a 28-year-old man from Welcome received face, head and eye injuries and were listed in stable condition last night at the Georgetown University Hospital.
A 32-year-old woman from Marbury and an 18-year-old man from Glymont were listed in fair condition last night at Physicians Memorial Hospital in LaPlata.
The other seven wounded persons, all county residents, were treated at Physicians Memorial and released, hospital officials said.
Montminy said the restaurant was one of three in the neighborhood, which he described as "out of the way." All the restaurants are relatively small and on weekends are "very, very crowded," he said.