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November 10, 2010

Maryland State Fairgrounds threatens to end Oktoberfest event after double stabbing; suspect's trial has not been set

After a double stabbing at Maryland State Fairgrounds during Oktoberfest, fairground officials have threatened to end the event if promoters don't take more safety precautions.

In early October, a 27-year-old man stabbed two others near the Timonium fairgrounds where Oktoberfest was held soon after the event had ended, police said. 

The attack was unprovoked, but police believe it started during the beer event. Baltimore County Fire Department director Glenn Blackwell also told Midnight Sun then the suspect, 27-year-old Nicholas Atkins, had been drinking. (He did not know then if a breathalyzer was administered).

At the time, officials were concerned Oktoberfest's promoters, the Trigger Agency and Brewer's Association of Maryland, didn't take enough safety precautions.

And on Tuesday, Patch.com reported they had taken the extra step of asking Oktoberfest organizers to submit a formal proposal that includes steps on preventing future criminal incidents.

 "My people are very concerned," fairgrounds president Howard Mosner told Patch. "They want to look at what you propose to do to keep these kinds of events from happening in the future, if we allow you to come back."

Oktoberfest has been held at the fairgrounds for ten years, Patch said. This year, it was scheduled to coincide with the glut of events of Baltimore Beer Week

Local breweries, for which Beer Week functions as trade show and promotional event, are concerned moving Oktoberfest elsewhere might hurt them.

Hugh J. Sisson, founder of Heavy Seas Beer, defended the event to Patch, saying the Brewer's Association pays for security every year.

Instead of moving the event elsewhere, Sisson said one possibility is to cut back the event to five hours to avoid problems.

It should be noted the stabbing didn't take place during Oktoberfest, but after, when police said Atkins was walking to the Light Rail with his companion, who he slashed unprovoked.

Atkins later entered the Cow Palace at the fairgrounds and slashed another man, a 53-year-old, until he was restrained by an off-duty police officer, Blackwell told Midnight Sun then. The victims were transported to nearby hospitals with non-threatening injuries. 

 Atkins is being held at Baltimore County Detention Center on a high bond, his attorney Jeffrey Harding told me. He was indicted on November 1 on a count of attempted murder and two counts of assault.

Dates for arraignment or trial have not been set.


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Posted by Erik Maza at 1:37 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: News
        

Comments

You can have a nut show up anywhere. Yes it is true security is always needed at an event serving alcohol, but it sounds like more was going on with this guy than just too much to drink. I mean he not only slashed his friend but then some stranger in neighboring building who was minding his own business! It would be a shame for this jerk to ruin this event for everyone. The Fair also serves beer and supposed this guy had gone there and started slashing kids?

Actually, it's more the other way around: Baltimore Beer Week was scheduled in part to coincide with the Oktoberfest, which the BAM had been holding the weekend of Columbus Day for nearly ten years now.

As someone in my blog commented, "Trigger should find another venue and then the Fairgrounds can schedule another Knife and Gun Show to fill the gap." I detect a note of sarcasm in that comment.

I can't see how this post-fest event would have been prevented by anyone, let alone people related to the event the man was previously at. Did he act out at the event? Were these issues reported to staff? At the most they could have kicked him out, or the police at the event could have kicked him out with a ticket. He still would have been released at some point back into the general public to stab his friend and anyone else near by as he did.

And, HA @ at the gun and knife show comment.

Good riddance....I went to the very first Oktoberfest at the fairgrounds and was thoroughly disappointed with the atmosphere, congestion / long lines, and most of the beer options running out very early. Gave it another try about 3 years ago and had an even worse experience as they literally stopped selling tickets for beer 15 minutes after I paid $20 admission to get in. The organizer (at that time) was extremely abrasive and rude to the dozen of us who approached him for a refund.

I love Baltimore Beer Week and have attended numerous events associated with it the past 2 years, but will never go to the Oktoberfest again. A change of venue is a great idea as there is absolutely no appeal to hanging out in the dated & dirty grandstand at the fairgrounds.

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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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