The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted unanimously yesterday to suspend McFadden’s liquor license after a man allegedly stabbed five patrons there early Saturday morning. None of the injuries were fatal, but all the victims were treated for multiple wounds at nearby hospitals. The alleged assailant fled the scene. In an ensuing melee as everyone exited the Foggy Bottom establishment, two men were arrested for altercations with police officers. The bar has remained closed since the incident under the order of Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, and its website has been taken down.
Y&H has attempted to contact representatives from McFadden’s, but no one immediately responded.
According to reports from police and Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration investigators, the alleged assailant got into a verbal altercation with some patrons celebrating a birthday before he pulled out a knife sometime before 1:05 a.m., at which point police were called. One anonymous witness told an investigator the weapon appeared to be a light brown-handled steak knife.
The victims included a 23-year-old stabbed in the back, a 27-year-old stabbed in the upper back, a 20-year-old stabbed three times in the lower body, a 25-year-old stabbed three times, and another 23-year-old stabbed in the chest and back, puncturing his kidney, and lacerated on his left arm.
The 25-year-old victim (stabbed three times) told an ABRA investigator that he saw his friend (the 23-year-old whose kidney was punctured) in a fight with an unknown man, who then stabbed his friend repeatedly. He told the investigator he said to himself, “Why the fuck is he stabbing him so many times?” He said he then approached the alleged assailant from behind and struck him in the face, then felt a sharp pain in his back. Among other injuries, his friend suffered a collapsed lung and received an air tube in his chest, but he was upgraded to stable condition, George Washington University Hospitality officials told investigators.
Another victim—the 23-year-old stabbed in the back—told investigators the altercation took place behind his seat, but he didn’t turn to see what it was about. He said his chair was bumped once, then shortly after knocked over, and he felt a pain in his back. He says he went to the restroom and noticed he was bleeding. A female patron who said she saw him get stabbed came to check on him in the bathroom and helped him until first responders arrived. Meanwhile, the 27-year-old victim said he was trying to break up a fight when he was stabbed in his shoulder blade, suffering a collapsed lung.
McFadden’s manager Steven Broderick told investigators he saw pushing and shoving on the floor and instructed the DJ to yell “Elvis,” which was code for emergency requiring security assistance. At that point, security personnel attempted to separate fighting patrons and disperse the crowd.
A bartender told investigators that he jumped over the bar to assist the security crew. He said he grabbed an individual from behind by the shoulders and immediately felt a sharp poke in his leg. When he looked down, he saw the man clutching a knife. He wasn’t injured by the poke.
Violence continued after police arrived. In a letter to ABRA Director Fred Moosally, Lanier said uniformed officers responding to the scene were met by “aggressive confrontations” with several patrons who were being removed from the establishment. One patron was arrested after allegedly violently resisting and striking an officer on the back of the head, causing injury that required medical treatment. Another patron was also arrested after allegedly repeatedly attempting to strike an officer with a closed fist. The scene was so chaotic that police had to call for back-up. Twenty officers responded to the scene in total.
Only three McFadden’s security personnel were present that night, and none had any experience with crowd control, Lanier said. The security staff was initially uncooperative with police and resisted providing information until they were threatened with criminal charges. Surveillance videotape, although of poor quality, showed that McFadden’s security escorted one patron who may have been the alleged assailant outside, but they did not give investigators any details about his identity, according to the ABRA suspension notice.
Meanwhile, the manager said a bar back mopped blood from the floor rather than preserving the crime scene.
“I find that continued operation of this establishment presents an imminent danger to the health and safety of the public,” Lanier wrote in her letter to ABRA.
In addition to the violence, ABRA cited a number of other violations as well. The bar was over its 136-person capacity with approximately 215 patrons. And one of the victims was under legal drinking age.
McFadden’s has 72 hours after receiving its suspension notice to request a hearing before the liquor board. If that happens, a hearing will be held within 48 hours.
Read the full ABRA and police reports as well as the liquor license suspension notice below.
Crime scene photo via ABRA