A soldier who had recently returned from duty in Iraq was killed and another man was critically injured during a shooting early yesterday near a Northwest Washington nightclub whose liquor license renewal has drawn protests from neighborhood activists.
Police officers on patrol near the 1800 block of Eighth Street NW in the Shaw community heard gunshots at 3:05 a.m. and found Antre-Vyn Mason-Black, 24, of Clinton inside a car bleeding from gunshot wounds, D.C. police Sgt. Joe Gentile said. Mason-Black was taken to the medical examiner's office, where he was pronounced dead, Gentile said.
A 23-year-old man who had been on the sidewalk near the car was shot in the neck and was listed in critical and guarded condition at a hospital last night, officials said. That man's identity was not released by police because he is a witness to a crime.
The nightclub near the scene, Kili's Kafe, was hosting a D.C. Caribbean Carnival party Saturday night. Police said it is unclear whether the victims, or the people being questioned in the case, were at the club before the shooting.
But the violence spurred D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) to ask D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday to temporarily shut down Kili's. The Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association already was protesting renewal of the club's liquor license, saying its late-night patrons are a nuisance.
Ramsey declined to shutter the club yesterday, allowing its "Grand Finale" Caribbean Carnival celebration to take place last night. "The investigation is continuing," Gentile said. "We don't have sufficient facts yet to make a decision to close the club."
Ramsey ordered more officers to patrol the streets surrounding the club, near Howard University.
After stopping a car that had been seen speeding from the area of the shooting, police questioned three suspects, and a handgun was recovered from the vehicle. No charges in the shooting had been filed as of late last night, said Lt. Robert Glover. Glover also said that Mason-Black had recently returned from Army duty in Iraq, though no further details were available.
Graham said that Kili's drew hundreds of revelers for the all-night Caribbean party Saturday and that it was the only draw in the neighborhood at that hour. "I want him to shut down this place because this is the source of the violence," Graham said of Ramsey. "What else is there? This is the magnet for violence in the neighborhood."
Gentile said he could not discuss the club's history yesterday or say whether crimes have been associated with it.
Havanah Llewellyn, operations manager for Kili's, said the club was being unfairly linked to the killing. "It's a tragic incident," he said. "I don't think it's related to the club at all. . . . We saw not so much as an argument or a fight that occurred throughout the night. This occurred down the street."
Kili's is trying to be a considerate neighbor, Llewellyn said. On Friday night, when the club attracted nearly 2,000 revelers, it hired seven off-duty police officers at a cost of $3,500 for added security, and no incidents were reported, he said. On the night of the shooting, Kili's relied on its own security and did not hire off-duty police, he said.
Graham and the neighborhood association are protesting the liquor license held by Kili's, arguing that the business generates trash, noise and unruly patrons.
"The neighbors are upset," said Alan Rosenthal of the neighborhood association. "Kili's operates in a way that means late-night noise, after-hours events in violation of its lease, trash and litter and loitering after events. . . . We want them to sit down with us and work out a voluntary agreement that will address these issues."
Graham and Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) are also trying to revoke the liquor license of Club U in the Reeves Municipal Center after a February incident in which one of its patrons, the victim of a stabbing, died just outside the club. The city's liquor board is expected to make a decision this week, Graham said.
"This is an ongoing controversy," Graham said. "This is not about any other issue but homicide. It's not about go-go. It's not about race. It's just about violence. And the violence must stop."
Staff writer Allan Lengel contributed to this report.