Sergeant, United States Army
Kills Man Near Club In Shaw
Neighbors Call For Kili's to Close
By Lyndsey Layton
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Monday, June 27, 2005
A soldier who had recently returned from duty in Iraq was killed and another man was critically injured during a shooting early yesterday near a Northwest Washington nightclub whose liquor license renewal has drawn protests from neighborhood activists.
Police officers on patrol near the 1800 block of Eighth Street NW in the Shaw community heard gunshots at 3:05 a.m. and found Antre-Vyn Mason-Black, 24, of Clinton inside a car bleeding from gunshot wounds, D.C. police Sergeant Joe Gentile said. Mason-Black was taken to the medical examiner's office, where he was pronounced dead, Gentile said.
A 23-year-old man who had been on the sidewalk near the car was shot in the neck and was listed in critical and guarded condition at a hospital last night, officials said. That man's identity was not released by police because he is a witness to a crime.
The nightclub near the scene, Kili's Kafe, was hosting a D.C. Caribbean Carnival party Saturday night. Police said it is unclear whether the victims, or the people being questioned in the case, were at the club before the shooting.
But the violence spurred D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) to ask D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday to temporarily shut down Kili's. The Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association already was protesting renewal of the club's liquor license, saying its late-night patrons are a nuisance.
Ramsey declined to shutter the club yesterday, allowing its "Grand Finale" Caribbean Carnival celebration to take place last night. "The investigation is continuing," Gentile said. "We don't have sufficient facts yet to make a decision to close the club."
Ramsey ordered more officers to patrol the streets surrounding the club, near Howard University.
After stopping a car that had been seen speeding from the area of the shooting, police questioned three suspects, and a handgun was recovered from the vehicle. No charges in the shooting had been filed as of late last night, said Lieutenant Robert Glover. Glover also said that Mason-Black had recently returned from Army duty in Iraq, though no further details were available.
Graham said that Kili's drew hundreds of revelers for the all-night Caribbean party Saturday and that it was the only draw in the neighborhood at that hour. "I want him to shut down this place because this is the source of the violence," Graham said of Ramsey. "What else is there? This is the magnet for violence in the neighborhood."
Gentile said he could not discuss the club's history yesterday or say whether crimes have been associated with it.
Havanah Llewellyn, operations manager for Kili's, said the club was being unfairly linked to the killing. "It's a tragic incident," he said. "I don't think it's related to the club at all. . . . We saw not so much as an argument or a fight that occurred throughout the night. This occurred down the street."
Kili's is trying to be a considerate neighbor, Llewellyn said. On Friday night, when the club attracted nearly 2,000 revelers, it hired seven off-duty police officers at a cost of $3,500 for added security, and no incidents were reported, he said. On the night of the shooting, Kili's relied on its own security and did not hire off-duty police, he said.
Graham and the neighborhood association are protesting the liquor license held by Kili's, arguing that the business generates trash, noise and unruly patrons.
"The neighbors are upset," said Alan Rosenthal of the neighborhood association. "Kili's operates in a way that means late-night noise, after-hours events in violation of its lease, trash and litter and loitering after events. . . . We want them to sit down with us and work out a voluntary agreement that will address these issues."
Graham and Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) are also trying to revoke the liquor license of Club U in the Reeves Municipal Center after a February incident in which one of its patrons, the victim of a stabbing, died just outside the club. The city's liquor board is expected to make a decision this week, Graham said.
"This is an ongoing controversy," Graham said.
"This is not about any other issue but homicide. It's not about go-go.
It's not about race. It's just about violence. And the violence must stop."
Three men were charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the slaying of an Iraq war veteran early Sunday near a Northwest Washington nightclub.
They are accused of fatally shooting Army Sergeant Antrevyn Mason-Black, 24, as he sat in the driver's seat of his silver Mazda about 3 a.m. in the Shaw neighborhood. A 23-year-old man who was with Mason-Black was also shot and remained hospitalized yesterday in critical but stable condition.
The three suspects -- Davon Williams, 26, Raymond Brown, 24, and Devon Robinson, 29 -- were arrested just minutes after the shooting as they tried to drive to Southeast Washington, police said. All were ordered jailed without bond after a hearing in D.C. Superior Court.
Relatives described Mason-Black as an ambitious and good-natured young man who had served a year as a military police officer in Iraq. After returning home, he was stationed at Fort Belvoir, the relatives said.
His mother, Angel Mason-Callaway, and her husband, Lawrence Callaway, said they were devastated by the loss. They have three young children, ages 10 through 13.
"It's ironic," Mason-Callaway said. "He could survive Iraq but not the mean streets of Washington, D.C. Something needs to be done about the violence. . . . They have to get a handle on the situation. This is just one of the many, our son."
Authorities said Mason-Black and his friend left a nightspot, Kili's Kafe and Lounge, early Sunday and approached a group of women in the 1800 block of Eighth Street NW. The pair struck up a conversation with the women, police said.
Several men then told Mason-Black and his friend not to talk to the women, police said.
Mason-Black and his friend replied that they did not want any trouble and got into their car, police said. At least three guns were fired at the Mazda, police said. Mason-Black was struck in the spinal cord and died almost instantly; his friend was wounded in the neck and struggled out of the car. Police recovered 21 shell casings at the scene.
Officers on patrol saw a Buick fleeing the area. On a hunch that the men might try to drive to Southeast on Interstate 395, other officers began watching traffic heading into the Third Street Tunnel.
They spotted a Buick and pulled it over near the tunnel entrance. They took the Buick's occupants -- identified as Williams, Brown and Robinson -- into custody, police said. All three men are from Southeast.
Police said officers found a .45-caliber handgun
inside the car. The weapon was forensically linked to shell casings recovered
at the crime scene, police said.
A homeowner found the 9mm pistol Monday evening in a yard near the shooting scene. She turned it over to police, who later matched the gun to shell casings recovered from the shooting early Sunday in the 1800 block of Eighth Street NW, police said.
Police have arrested three Southeast Washington men and charged them with first-degree murder in the killing of Antrevyn Mason-Black, 24, a military police officer and Iraq war veteran.
Police said Mason-Black and a 23-year-old friend were shot after they talked to some women about two blocks from the club. The friend was wounded in the neck. Police said they recovered a .45-caliber handgun that was used in the shooting in a car the three men were in. They are searching for at least one other weapon.
NOTE: Sergeant Mason-Black was laid to rest
with honors at Arlington National Cemetery on 8 July 2005.