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October 18, 2010

Weekend Crime: Man beaten outside DC9 club; police officer Brian Stevenson killed in Canton

Over the weekend, two separate incidents in Washington and Baltimore that started out as fights turned fatal, leaving an Ethiopian immigrant and an off-duty Baltimore police officer dead.

At 2:30 a.m. Friday, Ali Ahmed Mohammed, an Ethiopian immigrant who lived in Silver Spring, turned up at the popular U Street club DC9 in Washington. After being denied entrance, he angrily hurled two bricks at the venue, breaking its front window, according to the Washington Post

Soon after, five men chased him, and fatally beat him, according to Washington police, who have since charged co-owner of DC9, William Spieler, and four other club employees with the crime.

The men have been charged with aggravated assault because the cause of death hasn't been determined; that could change when the medical examiner makes a final ruling

The Friday morning death has shocked Washington nightlife, where DC9 was a popular club and live music venue. Nightlife website Brightest Young Things has come to the club's defense. "The notion that that event resulted from systemic problems at DC9 itself runs counter to our seven years of experience as patrons of that venue," read a post baffingly titled "Murder at DC9? Hmm..."

The death has had other consequences. Since DC police temporarily shut down the club, owners moved bands Light Pollution and Zachary Peterson to the Rock & Roll Hotel, and canceled Thursday's Where Winston Stood show.

The club's website doesn't say anything about Wednesday's scheduled show by First Aid Kit. 

In Baltimore, 25-year-old South Baltimore resident Sian James and off-duty officer Brian Stevenson got into an argument over a parking spot around 10 p.m. Saturday on the 2800 block of Hudson St., Sun reporter Justin Fenton wrote.

According to court records, James struck Stevenson's left temple "with a fist-sized concrete fragment," and has since been charged with first-degree murder. 

It's not clear if James had been hanging out at club Clutch, which is near where the incident happened. Neighbors say the area is typically packed with visitors and tourists during the weekends; the Baltimore Beer Festival took place just a few blocks away at the Canton Waterfront a day after.

But, as Fenton notes, Canton is also one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, with Stevenson the first murder there this year.

Photo: Bloodstains remain on a crosswalk at 9th and U streets. (Bill O'Leary/Washington Post)


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Posted by Erik Maza at 10:31 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: News
        

Comments

Did police shot down the bar? Or did they shut down the bar? Both are believable actually.

"shut" misspelling corrected

That's "Brightest Young Things". Also "temporoarily shut down".

That article has the brother describing the DC9 victim as a "moderate social drinker". That's nonsense. Moderate social drinkers don't demand admittance to clubs at 2:30 am, and then smash windows when they're refused. That's the work of a raging alcoholic.

That witness is questionable too. Five minutes? A boxing round is 2 minutes. I've never seen a street or bar fight last even nearly that long.

Bottom line, I think that once the facts are known, the DC9 employees will be facing very minor charges.

It's difficult to articulate a reasonable response when the crime is so irrational, but for the sake of the possibility of progress...

Isn't it the case that DC9 suffers from what ails the corner of 9th & U? Namely, an admirable level of diversity just begging for leadership, and whether the chosen one be indigenous to groups of rock-n-rollers, immigrants, native Washingtonians, or tourists, the goal here should be to program togetherness (obviously not beat downs of retribution).

As a former Howard student who frequented WUST dancehalls just five years before U street went 'co-op', I gotta say, DC9 is real fuggin' kewl, very eclectic, but almost certainly representative of a certain kind of hipster DC denizen--not likely to get on well with old-schoolers, or newcomers-and hardly a symbol of integration.

But I mean, this is a new town, changed much like Baltimore is changing, and if there's any truth to what I'm supposing here, then it is incumbent upon all groups to do something about such tensions.

It's difficult to articulate a reasonable response when the crime is so irrational, but for the sake of the possibility of progress...

Isn't it the case that DC9 suffers from what ails the corner of 9th & U? Namely, an admirable level of diversity just begging for leadership, and whether the chosen one be indigenous to groups of rock-n-rollers, immigrants, native Washingtonians, or tourists, the goal here should be to program togetherness (obviously not beat downs of retribution).

As a former Howard student who frequented WUST dancehalls just five years before U street went 'co-op', I gotta say, DC9 is real fuggin' kewl, very eclectic, but almost certainly representative of a certain kind of hipster DC denizen--not likely to get on well with old-schoolers, or newcomers-and hardly a symbol of integration.

But I mean, this is a new town, changed much like Baltimore is changing, and if there's any truth to what I'm supposing here, then it is incumbent upon all groups to do something about such tensions.

I;m starting to get the feeling that Mr. Maza spends his weekends in DC, judging by the Baltimore part of this story lagging the DC part. Then there is the conspicuous presence of early-in-the-week Bmore "reviews" and a paucity of any weekend reporting. Plus after a month he knows way way more about DC clubs than I do.

First of all, I seriously doubt that tourists are going to Clutch. Yeah, after spending a day at the Aquarium, tourists are heading out to Clutch of all places for nightlife. Second of all, there is no chance in hell that James will be convicted of 1st degree murder. Also, the coverage of this is a bit much. Yes, its a tragedy that a man died, but its not a more significant tragedy simply because the victim was an off-duty police officer. If this was an off-duty janitor, would we all be hearing so much about it?

Sian James was found drinking and celebrating with friends at Mosaic (in the Power Plant) moments after the death of Officer Stevenson. Which of course is the "downtown club" all the news stations are avoiding mentioning by name. Another black mark on that club. Just a damn shame, granted we don't have all the facts, but it's still a damn shame.

Also, perhaps they should bring back Sam and let him cover the Baltimore scene again. Maza can be a part-time Baltimore/part-time everywhere else-scene writer. But I digress.

B'more Chop,

I think it is probably irrelevant whether they guy was a social drinker or an alcoholic. He was beaten to death. It's not clear if he was beaten by the employees of the club, but if he was they should be charged.

@ Josh. It may not be relevant to charging, but it could be relevant to the investigationan and will certainly be relative to the autopsy. I'm all for a waot and see approach on this one.

I think @bcentric is on to something - I would hope some one had told him the last thing anyone true baltimorean gives a crap about is anything going on in DC.


That being said - what's up with the crime reporting anyway? If I wanted to read yet another murder story I'd click on the front page. Of course I don't as I'm completely desensitized to baltimore's crime.

Chop,

I'm confused as how whether or not he was drunk is germane at all. Not trying to troll, but seriously don't understand.

Wow I can't say nothing about the baltimore murder. But I read a few news paper and I underestand the DC9 club murder is using there own rule." Broke window and kill" we have a law we are not in 16th century. They are GUILTY OF FIRST DIGREE MURDER. I put my hand in this case.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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