Exclusive: Police chief blasts DC bar staff, drunken manager after deadly shooting

D.C. police cruisers are seen in this WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

D.C. police are placing partial blame for a recent shooting on a nearby bar, and the police chief is asking city officials to yank its liquor license.

In a letter to the director of the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham said that the Safari Restaurant and Lounge at 4306 Georgia Avenue in Northwest D.C. had failed to hire extra security for a special event, didn’t have working security cameras and that the manager on duty was drunk during his interview with officers after the shooting.

“The violent, criminal act that resulted in the homicide can be connected directly to the operations of this establishment,” Newsham wrote in the letter, which was obtained by WTOP.

“Of significance was the apparent failure of management of the establishment to notify the Metropolitan Police Department immediately following the revelation of an assault victim.”

Before the early-morning shooting, a large fight broke out inside the bar around 1:25 a.m., and the bar’s DJ was allegedly assaulted.

But the restaurant’s management failed to call 911, Newsham said.

When officers showed up, they discovered multiple shell casings and blood in front of the restaurant, Newsham said. It was only after officers began processing the crime scene that they learned two victims had been admitted to Washington Hospital Center with gunshot wounds and one man had died from his injuries.

Adding to the frustration in investigating the crime, the on-site security system at the Safari Lounge was inoperable. In addition, the bar had failed to hire security personnel for a special event it was hosting, Newsham wrote.

“I find the continued operation of this establishment presents an imminent danger to the health and safety to the public,” Newsham said.

An emergency order for closure has been issued to the business, according to D.C. police. It is unclear if ABRA will revoke its license.

Here is a video D.C. police released of the suspects in the shooting:

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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