Downtown bar says it had no indication bouncer would ever stab a man to death; says he mostly just talked to co-workers about his kids
Update: Board orders bar shut indefinitely.
The Boston Licensing Board decides Thursday whether the Sons of Boston on Union Street warrants any punishment for the St. Patrick's weekend stabbing that killed a visiting former Marine from Chicago and left a bouncer behind bars on a murder charge.
At a lengthy hearing today, one of the bar's owners and a bouncer/barback said they had no indication at all that bouncer Alvaro Omar Larrama, 39, of East Boston, had it in him to stab somebody in the chest, leaving him to die on the sidewalk in front of another bar down the street.
This is important for the bar, if not Larrama, because if the bar can prove the fatal stabbing was unforeseeable, it can make the case it should not be punished for his actions. The bar today had to answer for several violations cited by police following the stabbing, including assault and battery, employee on patron with a deadly weapon; armed security without the board's permission; failure to supervise conduct of a licensed establishment; and employee making bodily contact with a patron. Larrama was arraigned on a murder charge after turning himself in that Monday and is being held without bail.
Co-owner Jason Kuczynski and employee Patrick Russell told the board that Larrama seemed to be very much a family man - to the point of asking for two consecutive days off each week to spend time with his family. Kuczynski said Larama would frequently talk about his son's football team, which he coached. Russell recalled him talking about building an igloo in the snow with his daughter and then sharing hot cocoa with her inside it.
Police reports, however, charge that Larrama grew so enraged during an argument with Daniel Martinez after refusing entry to Martinez and a friend that after the two men left and began walking after them, ran towards them and, when Martinez realized he was about to get attacked, tried hitting him with a metal beer can - only to have Larrama stab him in the left side of the chest around 6:51 p.m., Police say Martinez staggered down the block before collapsing in front of Hennessy's - from which EMTs would rush him to Mass. General, where a doctor declared him dead at 7:24 p.m.
The deadly altercation was captured extensively by the numerous security cameras on Union Street, but there is no sound, so nobody testified today just what words passed between Larrama and Martinez after the marine and his friend got to the head of the line outside the bar and Larrama wouldn't let them in.
Reading from a police report, BPD Lt. Det. Adrian Troy said that as the two walked away, Larrama can be scene running after Martinez with "an unknown object in his right hand." He said Martinez at first was unaware the bouncer was heading his way, but when he turned and saw him, he used a metal beer can to try to fend him off by hitting him with it - and managed to hit Larrama in the head with it.
"An altercation ensued," Troy continued. Larrama swung at Martinez twice with the item in his hand. He missed the first time, then plunged what police say was a knife into his chest the second time. Martinez staggered away, then collapsed in front of Hennessy's. The first call to 911 was from somebody with a 781 number who reported a stabbing and that people were doing chest compressions on the fallen man.
Then, according to police and Kuczynski, Larrama entered the bar and went up to Kuczynski, working the bar that evening, and tried to talk to him, but it was loud inside and Kuczynski couldn't hear him, so he motioned him to the kitchen, where they could talk. "At that point, I didn't notice anything odd about him," Kuczynski said.
Once in the kitchen, Larrama told him he'd been in a fight outside. Kuczynski told him he'd be right back, then started to head outside to see what was going on and then a bouncer from another bar came in and told him there had been a stabbing. He said by the time he got outside, the street was swarming with cops and EMTs.
As he got closer to Hennessy's, yet another bouncer from another bar told him Larrama was the suspect, he said. He rushed back to Sons of Boston and Larrama was gone. Police said he pulled off his shirt, turned his t-shirt inside out and escaped through a basement exit out the back.
Kuczynski said he had hired Larrama last July, in part because he already knew him from his work at another Union Street bar. He said Larrama had been a good worker and never had any disciplinary problems - unlike another bouncer he fired last October for getting drunk and belligerent after hours. And he said he made sure that Larrama - and other bouncers - knew that they were never to carry any weapons while on duty. He continued that Larrama and other bouncers were trained in de-escalation tactics for dealing with belligerent people, including speaking to them in calm, professional tones, putting their hands up to show they had no ill intent, and even apologizing for escorting them out.
Under questioning from board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce, Kuczynski acknowledged that this past Friday, he saw a TikTok video showing Larrama shadow boxing people as they walked down Union Street at some point in the days or weeks leading up to the stabbing. However, he said neither he nor anybody else at Sons of Boston ever saw him doing that while on duty and said maybe Larrama had been videoed doing that after work while visiting one of the other bars on the street - several of which close at 2, unlike Sons of Boston, which closes at midnight.
Under questioning from board member Liam Curran, Kuczynski acknowledged not doing a CORI check on Larrama. He said he was already familiar with him due to his work on the street, which he considered a major plus because it meant he would be familiar of what he would have to deal with in terms of the sort of people who would try to gain entry there.
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In Magoo’s humble opinion in this case one should throw un bebe out with un bath water. Magoo.
bar has to prove the stabbing was unforeseeable? Kind of an odd standard isn't it?
True, probably nobody could foresee that, exactly ...
But if the bar had a culture that encouraged the hiring of irresponsible bouncers, did nothing about violence inside and at the door, etc., Something like a stabbing might be foreseeable.
NOT saying that's what was going on here, but that's what the board was trying to figure out at the hearing. If you do have things like that on the regular, if there's a pattern, then that would be something to consider (old timers will remember Ups N Downs/the Pony Club, which sort of allowed that sort of thing, until one day some guy went berserk with a knife and stabbed seven people and that surprised no one and that was the end of Ups N Downs).
My personal favorite Ups n Downs story
Just before the end, on the second floor, a woman broke a bottle over the head of the bartender, who then sucker punched her and threw her down the stairs. They may have violated Liquor laws and regulations, and a potpourri of the Mass General Laws, but not Title IX.
Guy brought a knife to work- why?
Says a lot IMO (not to mention that owners/managers did not ensure staff wasn't carrying)
Had he been using his job to tune-up young drunks/had licensing board previously sited bar for pounding on customers?
From the UHub Archive
The bouncer who literally cracked some guys head open at The Baseball Tavern in 2016 (and has never been brought to justice) had violent interactions with patrons before that night.
Of course, you're relying on the owners not to incriminate themselves, so who knows if what they said here is true and complete.
Listen more closely when
Listen more closely when someone talks mostly about one particular subject. Listen. You just might pick up on something that isn't right. And if the person doesn't talk or open up, listen even more closely.
Strange standard to hold a business to
It's odd that bars (and restaurants?) are supposed to be able to predict the actions of their employees and patrons, and are held responsible for them. If someone in an office job or at a university commits a crime, no one makes the employer attend a hearing about it.
It’s not like he grabbed a knife from the kitchen.