The Boston Licensing Board decides Thursday whether the Stadium Bar in South Boston deserves any of the blame for two incidents in recent months, one in which three men were shot outside the bar, the other in which a bar patron got so outraged by the Bruins losing the Stanley Cup that when he was kicked out, he promptly sucker punched the first person he saw walking by.
Around 12:20 a.m. on Sept. 14, police found a man with multiple gunshot wounds outside the Old Colony Avenue bar, just as another man was arriving at the Boston Medical Center with a gunshot wound and a third man was wending his way home to Parker Street in Jamaica Plain.
C-6 Sgt. Det. Kenneth O'Brien told the licensing board this morning that video from the bar shows three men entering the bar and going upstairs to the second floor, where a private birthday party was going on. They fled three to four minutes later, pursued by 10 to 15 people, he said, adding the man found outside the bar was already "known to police."
Through his questioning, bar attorney Joel Kinney attempted to show that the three men were not necessarily the three men in the video and that nothing that happened inside the bar led to the shooting. O'Brien said he could not say more because the whole matter is now in the hands of the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, which he said is preparing to present evidence to a grand jury.
A bar doorman testified that he did see a group of about 20 people come down the stairs, that an argument broke out between two women in the group and that a man in the group interceded to break them up. And then gunfire erupted outside, he said.
"Everybody was in a panic" after that, he said, adding, however, that everybody in the scrum he saw was still inside the bar when the shots were fired outside.
Gary Ellsmore, chief operating officer for the company that owns the Stadium bar, acknowledged that after the incident, he met with Police Supt. William Evans and city Licensing director Patricia Malone and that he agreed to take steps to reduce the odds of known gang members coming into the bar - including prominent signs at the door warning everybody's licenses will be scanned and having security staff wear tops that identify them as being security.
"There was never an accusation that we did something wrong," he told the licensing board, a completely separate entity from Malone's office.
In a separate incident on June 24, a bar manager acknowledged a bitter Bruins fan having trouble keeping his emotions in check punched a complete stranger in the face outside the bar after the guy was ejected following the Bruins collapse in game 6 of the Stanley Cup.
The manager, Joshua Katz, acknowledged he did not call police after watching the guy land the punch because he separated the two and restrained the Bruins backer until the victim walked away. Board member Milton Wright, a retired judge, expressed amazement that Katz didn't call 911 after watching an assault and battery take place.
On Thursday, the board could decide the bar was blameless in both incidents, issue warnings or suspend the bar's license for a period of days.