Man dead, three others wounded in stabbing at Bourbon Street

24-year-old dies, others transported to hospitals, spokesman says

April 02, 2011|By Jill Rosen, The Baltimore Sun

Four men were stabbed early Saturday morning inside a city nightclub, and one has died of his injuries, police said.

Baltimore police responded at 1 a.m. to the Bourbon Street club in the 300 block of Guilford Avenue to find four men stabbed inside the club, according to spokesman Detective Jeremy Silbert.

One of the victims, a 24-year-old man, died from his injuries, Silbert said. The three other victims were transported to local hospitals and are expected to survive, he said.

A couple of events were scheduled Friday night at the club. It was "Ladies' Night" in the Ballroom with all-you-can-drink specials for women. There was also a "Zombie Strippers and Beer" event, which advertised 12 bands.

David Adams, one of the club's managers, said the violence erupted in the ballroom where ladies' night was happening. He declined to elaborate on what happened, but said the bar was immediately discontinuing the popular promotion.

"Obviously we're pretty frustrated this morning," Adams said. "We've run that promotion for three years and it has not been a problem. The folks that have been coming to the event are going to end up punished because of some other idiot's behavior. But we have to protect our core business. It is what it is."

Fred C. Marvin III, who owns a modeling and talent agency, was in the club's ballroom with his girlfriend when the altercation occurred. He said a woman came up to him and told him someone had been killed, but he thought she was just kidding because it was April Fool's Day.

When another person told him the same thing — and then his girlfriend said she saw a body in the corner — Marvin knew it wasn't a joke.

He saw the body, a lot of blood and then they stopped the music. People weren't allowed to leave, he said, as police had arrived and begun to investigate the scene.

"It was a very frightening experience," he said.

Marvin added that when he was entering the club, no one checked him for weapons. "We just walked right in," he said. "I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one."

He called the club "unsafe" and said he'd never go back.

Robin Smith, a 22-year-old from Baltimore, is a regular at the club's ladies' night and was there Friday with some friends. They were on the balcony of the ballroom when they noticed everyone running from a back corner. When they asked what happened, people at the club told her someone had been stabbed.

Smith and her friends were also forced to remain in the club during the initial investigation. She said when folks were finally allowed to leave, it was "a riot."

"People were pushing and people were on the floor getting stomped on just trying to get out of the club," she said.

Late Saturday morning, splotches of blood were still visible on the club's front steps along Guilford Avenue.

The perceived bloodiness of the night's events was likely heightened, clubgoers said, by the copious amounts of fake blood that were brought in for the zombie event.

"There was blood before and after [the stabbing]," said Jeff Conner, part of the band Eat Your Neighbors that performed that night. "We had several gallons of fake blood. … The police cleaned up all the real blood."

Homicide detectives are investigating the incident, Silbert said. The victims have not been identified.

One of the victims was taken to police headquarters to be interviewed, with apparently neither police nor the victim realizing he had been stabbed, police said. Once they realized he was injured, he was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The man was not considered a suspect, police said.

Adams offered his condolences to the victims. He was unsure Saturday if the club would reopen that night.

Leland Palmer, a band that was supposed to play the venue Saturday night, announced on Twitter and Facebook Saturday afternoon that their show was postponed. Another event, The Red and Black Ball, featuring drag kings and go-go dancers, was apparently still on. Around 8:30 p.m. Saturday evening, several men wearing bright yellow jackets with "Security" written across the back, set up a white pop-up tent in front of the club's front steps. No guests appeared to have arrived, and the parking lot across the street was mostly vacant.

Bourbon Street occupies the site on Guilford Avenue, not far from City Hall, where Hammerjacks used to be. It has a New Orleans theme and is a popular venue for smaller concerts. Recently the Christian rock group Stryper played there, as did Jefferson Starship.

Last June, two former state high school wrestling champions from Anne Arundel County were charged with assaulting a pair of Navy football players at the 18-and-over club.

Councilman William H. Cole IV said he was frustrated Saturday by another violent incident in a club in his district.

"What bothers me is in every single one of these incidents, it's just stupid fighting between individuals, but instead of settling it the way everybody used to settle things, a weapon is involved," Cole said. "I don't know how you police it."

Even so, Cole said city government and the police have been working with club owners to help them improve security. Bourbon Street, he said, was one of the best with security that he's seen.

"I bet they spend more on security than any other club downtown," Cole said, explaining that the club not only has an extensive camera network to monitor the various entertainment spaces, but owners also hire a private security team and off-duty sheriff's deputies to guard the premises.

"I don't really know enough at this point to know how the weapon got inside and what started it. But obviously we know the conclusion. Another tragic incident."

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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