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Officer among six shot, two killed outside city club

Sources: Police investigating whether shooting was friendly fire

January 09, 2011|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

Gamble's relatives, meanwhile, said they believed police acted recklessly in firing on the crowd outside the nightclub. Corey Brown, 31, who said he is Sean Gamble's godbrother, said Sunday night that Gamble had a young child and was engaged to be married. Brown said Gamble worked for a waste management company and had no criminal record, a fact confirmed by a search of court records.

"He's not a violent kid — he's not in the streets," said Brown, who was not at the club early Sunday morning. "He's not even cut from that cloth. Apparently he got in a fight and the cops start shooting. Not in the air — in the crowd, and they shot him."

James Gamble said that the shots sent clubgoers running in every direction and that he located his brother underneath a vehicle. Sean Gamble had been shot in the chest, he said. James Gamble and dozens of others were detained for questioning by police.

Sean Gamble, who went to Woodlawn High School, was a member of the Baltimore Saints semi-pro football league, playing linebacker and wearing number 56.

Brown said Sean Gamble had a "huge heart and was really a person you wanted to be around."

"He was loyal, loyal to the death," Brown said.

At a news conference outside Maryland Shock Trauma Center before sunrise Sunday, police said they could not say what prompted the officers to fire or whether anyone other than the officers had fired a gun.

"We're a few hours into this whole ordeal, and we have scores of detectives working on the case, processing evidence, interviewing witnesses," Bealefeld said. "We have a ton of work to do to put together the facts of what happened."

Police had few additional details to offer later Sunday. Detectives were reviewing surveillance camera footage and other physical evidence.

Select Lounge opened two months ago a few blocks north of Lexington Market and has sought to attract an upscale crowd. Its Facebook page describes a strict dress code and boasts of a VIP lounge for the "ultimate in discreet experiences" for "sophisticated club connoisseurs, savvy socialites, A-list celebrities and the Baltimore's [sic] elite." Ravens player Dannell Ellerbe chose the club to celebrate his birthday in December.

At the scene Sunday morning, police tape blocked a parking lot adjacent to the Select Lounge that was still full of cars as detectives interviewed clubgoers at police headquarters. A "VIP Parking" sandwich board lay in the street.

By afternoon, all that remained in the parking lot were empty liquor bottles and scattered fliers for coming events at nightspots around the city. Calls made to a phone number for the club's owners were not immediately returned.

"What we need to figure out is what sparked the shooting," said Guglielmi. "Was there a weapon drawn by a civilian? Was the officer's weapon taken? We've got to put together a timeline and figure out what happened."

On Twitter, people lamented Baltimore's continuing nightlife violence.

"Can't even go out anymore," one person wrote. Another said: "This has to stop."

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun reporter Timothy Wheeler contributed to this article.



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