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Maryland State Fairgrounds threatens to end Oktoberfest event after double stabbing; suspect's trial has not been set

After a double stabbing at Maryland State Fairgrounds during Oktoberfest, fairground officials have threatened to end the event if promoters don't take more safety precautions.

In early October, a 27-year-old man stabbed two others near the Timonium fairgrounds where Oktoberfest was held soon after the event had ended, police said. 

The attack was unprovoked, but police believe it started during the beer event. Baltimore County Fire Department director Glenn Blackwell also told Midnight Sun then the suspect, 27-year-old Nicholas Atkins, had been drinking. (He did not know then if a breathalyzer was administered).

At the time, officials were concerned Oktoberfest's promoters, the Trigger Agency and Brewer's Association of Maryland, didn't take enough safety precautions.

And on Tuesday, reported they had taken the extra step of asking Oktoberfest organizers to submit a formal proposal that includes steps on preventing future criminal incidents.

 "My people are very concerned," fairgrounds president Howard Mosner told Patch. "They want to look at what you propose to do to keep these kinds of events from happening in the future, if we allow you to come back."

Oktoberfest has been held at the fairgrounds for ten years, Patch said. This year, it was scheduled to coincide with the glut of events of Baltimore Beer Week

Local breweries, for which Beer Week functions as trade show and promotional event, are concerned moving Oktoberfest elsewhere might hurt them.

Hugh J. Sisson, founder of Heavy Seas Beer, defended the event to Patch, saying the Brewer's Association pays for security every year.

Instead of moving the event elsewhere, Sisson said one possibility is to cut back the event to five hours to avoid problems.

It should be noted the stabbing didn't take place during Oktoberfest, but after, when police said Atkins was walking to the Light Rail with his companion, who he slashed unprovoked.

Atkins later entered the Cow Palace at the fairgrounds and slashed another man, a 53-year-old, until he was restrained by an off-duty police officer, Blackwell told Midnight Sun then. The victims were transported to nearby hospitals with non-threatening injuries. 

 Atkins is being held at Baltimore County Detention Center on a high bond, his attorney Jeffrey Harding told me. He was indicted on November 1 on a count of attempted murder and two counts of assault.

Dates for arraignment or trial have not been set.

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