- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Dupont Circle restaurant that was the site of a deadly fight Sunday as a party let out had its liquor license suspended indefinitely but will be allowed to resume food sales.

The District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted unanimously in favor of a summary suspension of Heritage India’s liquor license, Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration spokeswoman Cynthia Simms said Thursday.

“This doesn’t preclude them to sell food,” she said. “They just can’t sell liquor anymore.”

The restaurant has remained closed by order of Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy L. Lanier since the melee outside the Connecticut Avenue Northwest restaurant left one man dead and six others injured.

Owners of Heritage India can ask for a hearing on the suspension but as of Thursday had not done so, Ms. Simms said.

A report issued by investigators reviewing Sunday’s incident revealed new details about the events of the night, including that Heritage India staff failed to follow part of its security plan. The venue did not properly keep track of the number of patrons who entered the venue, allowing a promoter from the party sponsor, Mel Productions, to count the number of guests who paid $20 to $45 to enter.

Security at Heritage India was increased the night of the “Black Out” party, thrown by promoter Kevin Carter, because of his tendency to draw a “rough crowd,” said one security guard interviewed by ABRA inspectors. As a result, six security guards were hired for the event.

A fight involving four men broke out inside the venue at about 1:50 a.m. near a photo booth in the back of the restaurant, according to the report. The men were escorted by security out of the venue, with two taken out the front and two taken out the back exits. By the time security returned inside, they found another fight brewing between two others and also escorted them outside.

About 2:30 a.m., a large fight broke out in front of Heritage India. One man was beaten unconscious in the middle of the street. Three other men were stabbed and three more were shot, including 34-year-old Jhonte Coleman of Suitland who was fatally shot in the back.

No arrests have been made in the case, but Chief Lanier told WTOP on Thursday that progress was being made in the investigation.

Heritage India owners released a statement Tuesday indicating management shut down the event after the indoor fights were broken up and that nobody was stabbed or shot inside the establishment.

Management could not be reached Thursday for comment.

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