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Man shot in city bar dies

May 23, 2007|by KAREN HANNA and ERIN JULIUS

A man shot in the head Tuesday night at a Hagerstown bar has died and Hagerstown Police officials said this morning they are investigating the incident as a homicide.

The victim was identified as Christopher Jason Ayala, 23, of Greencastle, Pa., police said.

A suspect is being sought, according to a police press release this morning. He is described as a black male, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds. He was wearing dark clothing, police said.

The shooting occurred around 11 p.m. at Zipper's on North Jonathan Street, Lt. Tim Wolford said. Officers found the victim inside the tavern on the floor suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to Washington County Hospital, where he later died from the injuries.

Wolford said a witness to the shooting was being held for questioning.

Scores of people gathered along Jonathan Street as police swarmed into Zipper's after the shooting Tuesday night.

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Most denied having heard or seen anything, but many described the events to their friends or talked with cell phones pressed to their ears. Some people said they heard one shot.

Several women on a street corner south of the bar sobbed, and a crowd converged around police who tried to escort a stretcher from the bar.

A bullet hole was visible to the left of a neon sign for Corona beer in Zipper's window. A sign beside the bar proclaimed "no tolerance" for behavior such as loitering.

When asked for comment, a man near the bar declined. He massaged the shoulders of a woman who was shaking and sobbing. Moments later, policed handcuffed him after a short conversation, and he was loaded into a cruiser that drove off.

Wolford said the man was a material witness, and the shooting still was under investigation.

Jonathan Street was quiet this morning.

In October 2006, a man was shot in the lower abdomen at Zipper's. His injuries weren't considered life-threatening. The man was shot with a handgun inside the bar, which used to be known as New Visions Sports Lounge, Hagerstown Police said at the time.

Police ask anyone with information to call Detective John Moulton or Detective Chris Kayser at the Hagerstown Police Department at 301-790-3700, ext. 234. Information may also be e-mailed to crimetip@hagerstownpd.org.

The detectives ask that anyone that was in or around the tavern during the shooting make contact with the police as soon as possible. A cash reward is being offered for information as to the suspect's identity.

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