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A strip club, a shooting and the fallout that follows: Baltimore bar faces liquor board charges

A Southeast Baltimore strip club could face thousands of dollars in fines or lose its liquor license after a man was shot and killed outside the club in July.

Emmanuel Cruz, 39, died after he was shot outside Haven Place, a strip club in the Baltimore Highlands neighborhood, in July. The club will face charges tied to the shooting from the Baltimore Board of Liquor License Commissioners at a hearing Thursday.

Haven Place is being charged with six violations — three marks each against its liquor and adult entertainment licenses. Four charges are related to the shooting, and the club faces two additional charges for allegedly serving a minor in May.

According to liquor board documents, police responded to a report of a shooting at the club at 400-402 N. Haven St. just after 2 a.m. July 9. Officer Derek Bowman found Cruz lying in the parking lot of the club with multiple gunshot wounds.

An investigation found Cruz was involved in an argument with another patron in the club, according to the liquor board. When they left the building, the other patron struck Cruz in the neck, removed a handgun from his pocket and shot Cruz, liquor board documents allege.

After Cruz was shot, a manager of Haven Place took $1,050 from Cruz’s pocket, according to liquor board documents. The manager has not been criminally charged.

Steve Fogleman, an attorney representing Haven Place, declined to comment.

Cruz was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he died.

Jaquan Terrell Burks, a 25-year-old Baltimore man, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, two firearm charges and a handgun violation in Cruz’s killing. Burks’ public defender could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jessalyn Nelson, 20, of Baltimore, was also charged as an accessory to murder after the fact. John “Jack” Turnbull III, an attorney representing Nelson, declined to comment.

Haven Place will go before the liquor board at 1 p.m. Thursday. Charges against the club include breaking provisions for general welfare, illegal conduct and failing to prevent nuisances.

It’s not the first time the club has faced penalties from the liquor board. In February 2008, the club was found guilty of selling alcohol to minors and fined $375.

For the latest series of alleged violations, Haven Place could be fined up to $3,000 per charge for which club is found guilty. The owners also face the possibility of having their licenses suspended or revoked, Thomas Akras, deputy executive secretary for the board, said.

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