A Northeast D.C. nightclub violated its security plan by not employing any police officers on a night that a series of altercations erupted into a shooting in which five people were injured, according to police and the city’s alcohol board.
While police continue to investigate Saturday’s shooting, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has temporarily shuttered The Scene — making it the sixth time in four years the club has been closed after a violent incident.
Despite prior reports that Saturday’s shooting was related to the Stadium Club, a nearby strip club, the police chief said the incident involved club goers who had attended a go-go concert at The Scene and that “several altercations” had broken out at the club prior to the shooting.
The shooting was reported around 2:45 a.m. Saturday in the block where the club is located, the 2200 block of Adams Place Northeast, Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Saray Leon said.
Four of the victims suffered gunshot wounds to the leg and the fifth victim was shot in the chest, Chief Lanier wrote in a letter to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration requesting the club’s closure. The victims’ injuries were not considered life-threatening, Ms. Leon said.
A shooting and several stabbings have taken place at the nightclub over the last four years, and the ABRA had ordered operators of The Scene to employ D.C. police officers as a condition of continued operation. A flier for the Friday night concert advertises “tight security” at the event, stating “DCPD on the premises.” But 15 private security personnel — not police officers — worked at The Scene that night, Chief Lanier wrote.
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According to a letter ABRA sent in March to club operator William Blakeney, the nightclub had been unable to pay the police department for previous officer deployments through the agency’s reimbursable detail program. Through the program, officers are deployed to provide security in and around local bars and other venues. Officers are paid $55.71 hourly through the program and details often require multiple officers.
Mr. Blakeney could not be reached Monday.
Under the chief’s emergency closure, The Scene will remain closed until 6 p.m. Wednesday, by which point the ABRA is expected to make a decision whether further action will be taken against the club, agency spokeswoman Jessie Cornelius said.
The police chief has the authority to temporarily close a venue when she finds that further operation would be an “imminent danger to the health and welfare of the public.”
This is the sixth time Chief Lanier has closed a club on an emergency basis this year and the sixth time The Scene has been closed since 2010.
Police have not made any arrests in Saturday’s shooting and have not released any suspect descriptions.
The five victims did not provide police with an account of what led up to the shooting, Chief Lanier wrote.