‘Lax security protocols’ at Cru Lounge played a role in deadly weekend shooting, police say

Behind closed doors, D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Board discussed a call by D.C. police for the alcohol license of a nightclub to be pulled after a deadly shooting on Sunday.

In a letter to the board, Acting Police Chief Pamela Smith argued the shooting early Sunday “can be connected” to what she claims are “lax security protocols” at the Cru Lounge on H Street NE.

According to a police report provided to the board with the letter, surveillance footage from inside the establishment captured the shooting. That video, investigators said, showed the gunman talking to another man at the bar before leaving the lounge.

Several minutes later, the video apparently shows the shooter reentering the lounge and waiting for 31-year-old Blake Bozeman to walk by before shooting Bozeman in the abdomen.

In the moments following, the gunman reportedly attempted to hide the gun, but tripped while walking toward a table and exposed the weapon. At that point, the shooter is accused of firing the weapon at least two times at a group of people while trying to get back up.

Bozeman, a former basketball player for Morgan State University, was also seen on video walking out of the lounge before collapsing outside. He would later die from his injuries.

Two other men and a woman were wounded. According to police, a security guard who worked at the lounge was among those hurt.

The video also captured the shooter leaving in an SUV. So far, no arrests have been made.

The police report, which included statements from those at the club that night, also spoke of the chaos that ensued after, as everyone tried to get out of the lounge. Some hid behind the bar and others used the entrance and even the kitchen to escape.

Witnesses also said they did not see an argument take place before the shooting started.

In speaking with security guards, investigators said they were told that every man who entered was wanded and patted down for weapons, but for women, only purses were checked because guards were instructed to not pat them down.

In addition to urging the ABC Board to pull the alcohol license, the acting chief also forced the establishment to close for 96 hours as the board took up the case.

“Specifically, the fact that a pistol was brought into the establishment undetected, raises serious concerns about the security at the establishment,” Smith wrote in her letter to the board.

Leslie Malone with D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration said during its closed-door meeting, the board referred the case to the D.C. Attorney General. The attorney general’s office will then decide if the license should be suspended.

If it does call for the suspension, the lounge will have the opportunity to have a hearing with the ABC Board about the suspension.

An attorney for Cru Lounge, Sean Morris, in an email to WTOP, said he “cannot comment at this time” as the investigation continues.

“The owners of the establishment are saddened by the tragic loss of life and the injuries to their other guests and employees,” Morris wrote.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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