The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Drive-Bys, Shootings, and Cover-ups... Just Your Typical Saturday Night in College Park

Um yeah, so scratch anything you've heard of College Park's criminal activity actually dropping. In what amazingly hasn't been reported anywhere else rather than The Diamondback and The College Park Site, a shooting took place right outside one of downtown College Park's three bars.

Reports of shots fired near Cornerstone Grill and Loft scattered scores of bar patrons lingering outside bars near closing time Sunday morning.

Most patrons contacted yesterday who said they were nearby when the reported shots rang out declined to elaborate on the incident, but Prince George's County Police confirmed responding to several reports of shots being fired just after 2 a.m.

Police spokeswoman Cpl. Diane Richardson said there were no witnesses left at the scene when police arrived, and disputed reports that shell casings or other evidence of gun shots were found.

How not one major news outlet picked up the story is shocking enough, but what's also interesting to note is the fact that Cornerstone owner Mark Srour denied what took place outside on Route 1 was related to any sort of events that transpired within his establishment.

Cornerstone owner Mark Srour said his bar and its patrons were not involved. "I heard there were gunshots on Route 1, but I know for a fact that Cornerstone was not involved with this," Srour said.

However, there were several witnesses, whose accounts contradicted Srour's claims, that stated that the violence actually originated from Cornerstone and spilled out onto the streets, climaxing with shots of gunfire. Abigail, a student at Maryland and witness of what transpired, left this comment on the Diamondback website:

I am a senior at UMD and I must say I have never been more disappointed with this newspaper. The lack of honesty and trivialization of the events early Sunday morning are nothing more than disturbing. My friends and I were sitting at a table inside cornerstone drinking our last beer when a fight started on the dance floor. The fight was really bad and the bouncers managed to drag the people involved outside onto the street. We watched as one boy had his face stomped into the curb repeatedly by the other boys involved. As we got up to pay our tab quickly we heard a gun shot. The gun went off directly outside of Cornerstone and was deafening. Everyone in the bar ducked for safety. After we all stopped screaming and cornerstone employees finally let us out the back door, I went around to the front of the bar to see what happened. The police were on the scene and had discovered the bullet casing already. I walked right in front of cornerstone and saw a boy involved in the fight on the ground with police surrounding him. He was holding his chest and he looked to be severely wounded. There was another boy across the street in handcuffs. I wanted to post this report here for all who want to know what really happened Sunday morning. It was a more than frightening event which occurred at one the most popular hangout's in College Park. I was so sure that this would be the top story Monday where we could all get the real facts and student views of what happened. I am so disappointed with the reporting of this newspaper and the noninvolvement of cornerstone (It is never a good tactic to lie to your patrons Mark Srour). This is a big deal and should have made way for thought and change; instead we have all been denied our right to know what is going on in very our own community. I can not express the intensity of my disappointment.

While we're not sure what actually went down that Saturday night, The College Park Site says that what occurred was perhaps part of a drive-by:

All of a sudden we heard the sound of what I though was three fireworks going off near by Cornerstone. Initially that was it seemed to be, just fireworks and nothing else. Then once I looked towards Cornerstone, people started sprinting across the street like something was wrong, and a white Cadillac sped off as if its life depended on it... He saw the white Cadillac slow down as it passed Bentley's and Cornerstone, heard the three pops, and saw the car speed off, leaving a cloud of smoke above the passenger side window of the car.

In essence, TUL doesn't know whether this was your simple run-of-the-mill curb stomping or a clich├ęd drive-by (but if it was with a Cadillac, it earns some points), but one thing's for sure, College Park just got a hell of a lot more ghetto.

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