By Chrisleen Herard,
Special to the AFRO
Orange papers were taped on the Cru Hookah Lounge’s doors early Sunday morning, notifying D.C. residents that the nightclub would be temporarily closed after a fatal shooting that took place a few hours before wounded three victims and claimed the life of Blake Bozeman, former Morgan State University basketball star.
Authorities from the First District Metropolitan Police Department responded to a shooting at a nightclub in the 1300 block of H Street NE shortly before midnight on Sept. 23. Police then found three men and one woman suffering from gunshot wounds following a quadruple shooting.
Emergency medical services and D.C. Fire transported the victims to nearby hospitals, where three were reportedly treated for non-life-threatening injuries and one man was pronounced dead. Police later identified the deceased as 31-year-old Blake Bozeman, a father of three.
“Bozeman was productive both on the court, in the classroom and took pride in helping out the community as well,” read a statement released by Morgan State. “The Morgan family extends our deepest condolences and prayers to the Bozeman family and friends. Our family was an extension of his and he was a shining example of what it means to be a student-athlete.”
Bozeman left a stamp on the Morgan State Bears basketball team after competing as a starting guard for the university in 123 games and ranking second on Morgan’s all-time minutes leadership board. Bozeman achieved this all while playing under his father, Todd Bozeman, who coached the Bears for over a decade.
Bozeman graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s in journalism before entering the real estate industry in 2019. Bozeman leaves behind his wife, Tiera Ali, his two sons and his daughter.
“The last time I saw Blake, I was on a mission to get BBQ and he was engrossed in a conversation. I gave him a head nod to acknowledge him, but he stopped his whole conversation to come over and give me a hug,” One of Bozeman’s former classmates, Pennie Parker, wrote in a Facebook post. “That day, after the hug, I told him that he didn’t have to stop his convo, … He laughed and said that he had been around me enough to know that if he didn’t speak to me now, he might never see me again.”
The Cru Hookah Lounge will remain closed until a hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Board.
“Cru Lounge does not condone violence of any type or manner, especially in our own establishment,” the nightclub wrote on Instagram. “We are devastated by the horrendous events that occurred this morning. We are a place where people should come to enjoy themselves and feel safe.”
“Our prayers are with the victims and their (families), as well as anyone else impacted by this tragedy, … We will be closed until further notice.”
The MPD is offering a $25,000 reward for anyone who can provide them with information that will lead up to the arrest of the shooting suspect, who is described as a Black male standing at 5 feet and 7 inches tall and was last seen wearing a white/cream sweater and a black hat while heading westbound on H Street.
Anyone with information can reach police at 202-727-9099 or text an anonymous message to 50411.
Homicides have now reached 195 deaths in the District, almost 40 more than the recorded deaths during this time last year, or a 29 percent increase. D.C. is just five homicides away from entering its third consecutive year of surpassing 200 homicides.