- The Washington Times - Monday, August 8, 2011

Two people were shot early Monday in a drive-by shooting outside a Capitol Heights nightclub, police and a manager of the venue said.

A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries and a man with non-life-threatening injuries after both were struck outside the MSG nightclub around 2:45 a.m., Prince George’s County police said.

One of the managers of the venue, Eric Pickens, said someone opened fire on the club from a vehicle as it headed eastbound on Central Avenue toward the Capital Beltway.

He said he thinks the shooting may have been committed by several individuals who were denied entry to the club that night, as there were no fights or other incidents that occurred on the premises.

“It was a nice, quiet, good, fun night until that incident,” Mr. Pickens said.

At the time of the shooting, there were approximately 12 police officers from various departments stationed outside the club to help with security as the club let out for the night, Mr. Pickens said. About a dozen people were denied entry to MSG that night after officers working at the event advised MSG doormen that the people were tied to or suspected of violent incidents at other area nightclubs, Mr. Pickens said.

Despite the actions taken by the club, County Councilwoman Karen Toles said club owners need to be held accountable for violent incidents.

“There is a problem when you have a drive-by shooting on Central Avenue when you have homes right next door to your establishment,” said Ms. Toles, whose district includes the area where the shooting took place. “I can’t be forgiving of that especially when you have someone struggling for their life right now.”

New legislation, spearheaded by Ms. Toles, was passed by the Prince George’s County Council several weeks ago to crack down on violence at nightclubs. Since then, county nightclubs have been “operating on egg shells” since the Prince George’s County Council passed new legislation that affects the operation of nightclubs in the county, Mr. Pickens said.

The new law allows police and other regulatory agencies broader authority to shut down clubs after a violent incident and also creates stricter regulations for those allowed to operate clubs. The law stipulates that an administrative hearing will be held within 72 hours of a violation of the laws regulating adult or teen dance halls.

“I’m sure I’ll get called in for a hearing this week,” said Mr. Pickens, uncertain of how the incident will effect MSG’s operations in the future.

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