Towson community leaders on Monday lauded the county police department's quick response in arresting a man they say opened fire during a fight outside Charles Village Pub in downtown Towson early Sunday morning.
But despite acknowledging that the incident was handled quickly by officers already detailed to the area as bars let out, County Councilman David Marks and Towson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Hafford said more visible security in Towson's core is necessary.
"Our police force is really good, but there's a lot more people on our streets than there have been in the past," Hafford said. "I want people to realize, and it's very important that they realize, that there were extra police there and the police took care of it immediately. Nobody had to call them."
Baltimore County Police said Sunday evening that officers heard and responded to the sound of gunshots at 2:05 a.m. Sunday, and upon arriving, officers stopped a truck that was fleeing the scene.
Police determined that Francis Minsung Kang, 26, of the unit block of Brook Farm Court in Cockeysville, was involved in an altercation outside the restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue with two other people that began when Kang threw a Gatorade bottle at a woman as he left Charles Village Pub.
During the ensuing fight, Kang, after moving to Chesapeake Avenue, allegedly fired five shots with a handgun, one of which hit another man in the hand. Police said the man was treated for a "minor gunshot wound," and his condition is unknown.
Kang was charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, and use of a handgun while committing a felony, police said.
"They were on him right away," Hafford said. "They had the guy. They were in the vicinity, they had him, and they caught the guy right away."
Marks said he plans to discuss the incident with police Monday, but said, "it points out the need for more police officers in downtown Towson."
"Having that presence will create a deterrent," he said. "Towson is going to continue to grow, and we're going to need to have a strong police presence."
The gunfire outside Charles Village Pub is the second such instance in downtown Towson since September — both of which occurred in the early morning hours.
In late September, a large crowd descended on Towson for a heavily promoted fraternity party at the Recher Theatre. Police said thousands were turned away when the event reached capacity, and officers struggled for hours to clear York Road of the crowds.
That same night, a man who was in Towson for the event was shot while walking back to his car, which was parked at the Towson Town Center mall. However, police have not been able to connect the crowd disturbance to the man's shooting.
Like the Recher family after that incident, Hafford said the owners of Charles Village Pub are "absolutely devastated."
Hafford said co-owner Melony Wagner emailed her at 4 a.m. Sunday, just two hours after the fight broke out. The two plan to meet and discuss what happened Monday.
In September, Wagner was one of several Towson bar owners who met with police to discuss security and safety in a meeting set up by Captain Jonathan Trentzsch of the Towson precincet.
Trentzsch, who has been at the helm in Towson for a year later this month, has changed his shift schedule to put more patrol officers in downtown Towson as the bars let out.
"I think the majority of people realize that a majority of our incidents happen early in the morning after the bars close, and that the streets of Towson during the day are a safe place to be," Hafford said.
"Not that it's not safe late at night, but with the drinking and testosterone, that can lend to not good things happening," she said. "We have to beef up visible security in our community at all times."