The fatal stabbing of a Southeast Washington teen-ager as he left a crowded go-go music club on Georgia Avenue early Sunday may have resulted from an argument over another teen-ager's girlfriend, according to a police source.

A fight over the girl likely began inside Celebrity Hall, 3401 Georgia Ave. NW, and continued as nearly 450 youths left the go-go dance shortly after 2 a.m., the source said.

Police said their investigation into the slaying of 17-year-old Wendell Heard, who lived on the 1600 block of 17th Street SE, has been hampered because many of the youths in the crowd leaving the hall have told detectives that they did not see anything. Security officers at the dance were not able to arrest a suspect because they encountered the same problem, according to Victor Richeson, the hall's manager.

"The concert was ending, and I heard there was a fight outside in the street," Richeson said. "I went outside and saw blood on the curb, and that guy {Heard} staggering to the sidewalk. I asked what had happened, and kids were saying, 'Nothing. We're going to handle this ourselves.' "

Shootings and stabbings have occurred outside of other District go-go music halls this year, but police said they believe that Heard was the first teen-ager to be killed while leaving a go-go dance.

D.C. Council member Frank Smith Jr. (D-Ward 1) on Monday called Celebrity Hall a "magnet for trouble" and recommended that the hall be closed. He urged parents to protest go-go dances there because of violence.

Owners of Celebrity Hall denied yesterday that they bear any responsibility for the fatal stabbing and denounced Smith for suggesting they do.

Andrew Richeson, the hall's owner, chastised Smith, 4th District police and some neighbors for claiming the go-go music concerts held there are a dangerous public nuisance.

Richeson said he opened Celebrity Hall, formerly a car garage, two years ago to lure District youths away from late-night loitering and allow them to enjoy music in a drug-free environment. Richeson, a former Prince George's County police officer, said 15 security officers police the hall during a weekend dance. All patrons are frisked upon entering, he said, and youths who are younger than 16 are asked to leave at midnight.

"Drugs and violence are pervasive in this area, and Councilman Smith is copping out by scapegoating Celebrity Hall as the cause of it all," Richeson said at an afternoon news conference inside the hall. "He has even refused to meet with us about these issues."

Charles Pearson, counsel to Smith, called Richeson's allegations "very flimsy." He said Smith would respond today to Richeson's charges during a public hearing about a curfew bill now being considered by the D.C. Council. The bill would require club owners to bar minors after 11:30 p.m. on weekdays and after 1 a.m. on weekends.

Richeson also said that 4th District police have failed to adequately patrol the neighborhood after a go-go dance. "We've had to beg for police protection when we have these large crowds," he said. "There was not one police officer outside the hall when that dance ended Saturday night, and that's been the case for months."

Capt. William White III, a police spokesman, disputed Richeson's claim. He said 4th District officers have shifted the hours they work weekend nights specifically to police crowds filing out of Celebrity Hall dances, which usually end about 3 a.m.