All-Ages Bar Party Ends With Shooting

An argument that broke out during a 16-year-old’s birthday party inside Dixwell’s Red Cafe ended with a 20-year-old getting shot out on the street.

That happened around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

Cassandra Lowery had reserved the club at the crossroads of the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods, where Munson meets Henry and Ashmun streets, for a birthday party for her nephew. She hired a deejay and charged people $5 at the door.

She enlisted four members of the Wild Style Riders motorcycle club (including the nephew’s father) to pat down males coming into the party. Lowery said she herself patted down the females.

“We did a thorough pat down. We went so far that we were checking boots,” she said Monday. She said a police officer came by and watched them perform the pat-downs.

The officer hung around a while, then asked what time the party would end and split for a while, according to Lowery. Inside, “it was really nice. [The party] was going good. Until two guys got into an argument. We stepped in between.”

“We broke it up. We put them out the doors,” Lowery said. “They stepped across the street. Gunshots started going off. We called 911.”

She said she surmises that one of the fight’s participant had stashed a gun outside, or they encountered someone else on the street with a weapon.

She and Joyce Bellamy, who owns Red Cafe and was on scene at the time, said they heard three or four shots.

“Nobody would have gotten in with any kind of weapon,” Bellamy said. ““We can’t control the outside and what happens.”

“A lot of people don’t want to deal with the teens. If somebody calls for a private birthday, I try to give the neighborhood to prove people wrong, that the kids can be good. There’s not a lot for them to do. We’ve thrown a lot of teen parties, not just at Red Cafe, but other places. Kids look forward to this. Somebody to endanger children in the area, I just think it’s terrible,” she said.

The first three officers responding to the bar, Kealyn Nivakoff, Sheree Biros, and Charlie Gargano, “arrived to a chaotic scene,” according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman. Back-up officers arrived soon after. So did EMTs with the fire department, to help the 20-year-old shooting victim found on Henry Street. They took him to the St. Raphael’s campus of Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment of a non-life-threatening abdomen wound.

Detectives and officers interviewed at least 35 witnesses at the scene, Hartman reported. The interviewees “at the bar ranged from 50 years old to 12 years old. Fourteen were under the age of 16 and included two 12 year-olds and three 14 year-olds.” The investigation is continuing.

Update: On Monday police said a second gunshot victim from that incident has come forward. She’s 16 years old. A bullet grazed her in the leg, police said.


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posted by: Walt B on December 24, 2012  8:50pm

I am completely shocked

posted by: NHPDHartman on December 25, 2012  12:00pm

Food for thought - If you feel the need to enlist the help of four members of a motorcycle club to ‘pat-down’ & search guests for weapons at a child’s birthday party (at which there’s a cover charge), is the party a good idea?

Is a bar a suitable location for a child’s birthday party?
Perhaps cake and ice cream - after lunch - in a home - with party hats, or is that too old fashioned…

“There’s not a lot for them to do”. Perhaps sleeping in their beds would be appropriate for 12 year old’s at 10:30 at night.

If one were to update the lyrics to The Music Man’s “Ya got Trouble”, it would be most fitting.

posted by: SaveOurCity on December 25, 2012  1:33pm

well, if guns were illegal, I’m sure these guys would have settled their dispute with a chess match and no injuries would have occurred…

posted by: Walt B on December 25, 2012  6:41pm

Relax, Wayne LaPierre has a solution for this, he is wise and caring.

posted by: Solid45 on December 26, 2012  7:54am

Where is Sgt. Harrison when you need him?

posted by: Long Time NH Resident on December 27, 2012  12:09pm

@ Hartman

Judge not least ye be judged.
You seems a bit harsh on the whole thing.Except for where a 12 year old should be in bed by 10:30.
Maybe they brought in security to keep the peace. Which worked until someone LEFT THE PARTY and went onto public/private space and retrieved a weapon. Even if a Police Officer was hired do you think that would have deterred anyone? Even though one was hanging around the area.
A party at a bar that is NOT serving alcohol may not be the first choice of most, but it seems the bar owner was trying to encourage a supervised setting for this event in a slightly different venue. Is this any different than having a party at a Chucky Cheese or a Private Hall ??

Since when is keeping people hiding in their homes for private parties part of freedom?

Maybe if society put more effort into keeping guns off the street we wouldn’t be having these issues and this whole party would have gone without incident and never made the papers.

posted by: westville man on December 27, 2012  2:50pm

@ LT NH Resident:

you’re kidding right?  Charging people at the door and having that size crowd at a 16 yr olds so-called birthday party?  Officer Hartman is spot on.
It’s craziness- and responsible adults should know better.

posted by: Long Time NH Resident on December 27, 2012  7:04pm

No I’m NOT kidding.

Which part of freedom are you missing. There were no laws broken. If this party was at the East Haven Veterans Hall or at a Yale College Dorm and they charged admission to pay for the DJ and Hall rental- or sold tickets- how would it be any different?

Like you have never been to a stag party.

“Of the 35 witnesses 14 were sixteen or younger.” What does that say for the age of the group of the “crowd” of people?  More adults than children.  hmmmm I believe schools have smaller ratios of adults to children. Besides, since when was it crazy to have a birthday party not at your home??

Just because these weren’t a bunch of preppy Yale students (no offense just a comparison)it makes it a bad thing ??? Please explain why, seriously, I’m curious what your rational is.

Should we just keep all teenagers at home every night locked up for fear of what might happen??? Should we not allow any more than 3 people to gather on the street at any one time like Germany during WWII ???

This shooting occurred across the street from the event, not at it or inside, this could have occurred anywhere at anytime, between any type of people of any age group.

I would hope officer Hartman’s comment would have shown more professionalism since its comments like this from the persons that are supposed to be PRESERVING our freedom that really scares me. Its “to protect and serve” not to “prevent and avoid”.

Who’s fault is it? I blame the guy with the gun.

posted by: westville man on December 28, 2012  1:03pm

LT NH Resident

If you mean “freedom” for your kid to get shot, then you can have that freedom.
Sure, I’ve been to stags and to VFWs- but with one huge difference- it’s by invitation only.
If this party was open to anyone who pays 5 bucks to get in, that’s not my idea of a birthday party (with strangers??). I would never subject my child or her friends to that possiblity.
If it WAS by invitation only, then I apologize to you and agree with much of your sentiment.

posted by: alluneedtoknow on December 28, 2012  2:13pm

Living close to this “ultra lounge” I heard the gun shots go off.  This is not the first time there has been a shooting or stabbing at this place.  The question is why is a bar renting out to an underage birthday party.  You have a motorcycle club patting people down. This club needs to be shut down.  Just a couple of weeks ago gun shots went off.  People have been killed there.  Well right outside the club.  There is always trash left and broken bottles illegal parking.  The owner Joyce Bellamy needs to take responsibilty for her customers coming to our nieghborhood and clean up after them.  The city needs look into this place and ask the neighboor what they think of this place.  When a bullet goes through one of our windows there will be a problem then.

posted by: Long Time NH Resident on December 28, 2012  3:20pm

Thank you Westville and I agree with your statement too regarding the invitation status. I made my comments under the assumption that it was a private party.

Editor: Can we find out if this was an open party or invitation ?