Club's security defended after shooting death on lot

July 02, 1999|By LaQuinta Dixon | LaQuinta Dixon,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

One day after an Annapolis man was fatally shot in the parking lot of Club Hollywood, an officer of the company that operates the Parole nightclub defended the size and effectiveness of his security force.

"We provide more-than-adequate security," Kevin Blonder, vice president of Hudson Street Investment Corp. of Annapolis, said in a brief telephone interview.

The club, where Keyo Williams of Annapolis was shot to death early Wednesday during a 25th birthday celebration, has been visited numerous times by police during the past few years.

Club Hollywood has advertised a Thursday-through-Monday entertainment schedule in the past, but callers yesterday were told that the club is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The club operates on a restricted Class D tavern license from the state Liquor Board that requires it to keep a minimum of four identifiable security officers on its parking lot. Those officers must patrol and keep patrons from sitting in cars for long periods.

Blonder would not respond to questions about whether the guards were on the lot when Williams was shot in the face.

The club has told the Liquor Board, according to files, that it keeps six guards on the parking lot.

The restrictions on the club stem from incidents such as one in December 1997, when Anne Arundel County police officers saw four underage girls drinking vodka while parked outside the club.

According to Liquor Board records, the club enforces a limit of one alcoholic drink per person to discourage patrons from giving drinks to minors.

In May 1998, shortly after the club was allowed to change its name from Buddy's Late Night of Annapolis to Club Hollywood, the board denied a written request from owners to hold a "Teen Night."

A yellow note attached to the letter read: "Rick [Bittner] said absolutely No!" Bittner is chairman of the board.

In January and February 1998, county police conducted a series of raids on the club, making numerous arrests for underage drinking and public drinking on the parking lot.

On April 19, police responding to a call about a fight on the lot talked to four women who complained about being flashed by four men who beat on their car.

Club officials have been called to a July 27 hearing at the Liquor Board about that incident.

Police say a fight at the club, also in April, was the motive for the fatal shooting of Byron A. Jones of Severn at his girlfriend's home in Annapolis. No arrests have been made in that case.

Blonder would not talk about the hearing, the repeated trouble at the club or Williams' death, except to call it "a tragedy."

Yesterday, police charged Delmar S. Turner of Columbia with first-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon in Williams' death. Turner is being held without bail at the county detention center.

A second man, who initially lied about his name and residence but has been identified as Vernon Dwight Gay, 21, of Pasadena, was charged as an accessory after the fact and giving a false statement to a police officer. He is accused of driving the suspect from the lot after the shooting. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Throughout the day yesterday, cars drove slowly past the Clay Street home where Williams grew up. Drivers waved at family members who sat on the porch.

Crystal Wright, 38, traveled Wednesday night from California after being called about her nephew's death.

"I had this boyfriend," she remembered, "and every time we would go to kiss, Keyo [at age 6] would get in the middle because he didn't want anybody to kiss me."

Williams' final exam, the last barrier to his earning an associate degree in physical therapy at Anne Arundel Community College, was yesterday.

Instead of encouraging him to do well, his cousins and other relatives spent the day planning his funeral.

Pub Date: 7/02/99

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