Two assailants might have been responsible for the stabbings of eight people Wednesday night during a melee at a downtown Washington nightclub, police said.
No arrests have been made in the trouble at So Much More, which erupted about 10 p.m. when a group of partygoers tried to get into the club for free. Police said the attendees thought they were supposed to be admitted without paying a cover charge to hear a rap performance during a special event hosted by a record company at the club, in the 1400 block of L Street NW.
As the fight began, one or two people pulled out knives, police said. Police described one of the weapons as a "batwing" knife that has blades on both ends of its handle. The victims were in their twenties. Some were stabbed inside the club, others outside, police said.
One man was stabbed eight to 10 times in the back and another was stabbed near the waist, authorities said. Both were hospitalized yesterday in stable condition. The others had minor slashes and cuts, according to Alan Etter, spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.
Cmdr. Thomas McGuire of the 1st Police District said that investigators still were trying to sort out what happened and that they planned to talk with the promoter of the event as well with a bouncer who suffered a deep cut to a finger. The owner of the club said the bouncer worked for the promoter.
McGuire said police were working with the city's Alcohol Beverage Control Board to determine whether the tavern violated any liquor laws. He said officials were exploring the possibility of shutting down the club.
According to the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, no liquor law violations or complaints have been filed against the club.
It received a license in April 2003 as a tavern that can have recorded music, disc jockeys, a three-piece jazz band and a 25-by-12-foot dance floor. The club serves snacks such as chicken wings and hot dogs, according to the license information on file with the alcohol administration.
Rose Knox, who owns the club with her husband, said she rented out the second floor to the private party. She said the promoter and the record company, which she identified as Hollowpoint Records, had agreed to let the first 10 people in for free and charge everyone else a $5 cover. But later, she said, the promoter and a record company representative began arguing over the arrangement.
At that point, she said, she shut down the party and kicked everyone out. She said some people left, and others were getting ready to when a bloodied person came running back in the club and people started beating on him.
Contrary to police accounts, she said that none of the stabbings took place in the club and added that "none of my regular customers were here because it was actually a private function."
Staff Writer Del Quenten Wilber contributed to this report.