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Bar owner to make changes in wake of shooting

June 07, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The owner of a Jonathan Street bar that was the site of a fatal shooting last month met with city and liquor board officials Wednesday to discuss ways to make the establishment safer.

Randy Jones, owner of Zipper's at 331 N. Jonathan St., said he asked for the meeting with the Washington County Board of License Commissioners.

He vowed to install bulletproof windows at the bar and a card swiping device that would record each patron's identification before they entered.

"Those will be purchased as soon as we find the resources," Jones said.

Hagerstown Police Capt. Charles Summers said patrons would be less likely to commit a crime in the bar if they knew their identities were registered.

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Summers suggested that Jones should repair security cameras inside the bar and scan patrons with a metal-detecting wand.

On May 22, Christopher Jason Ayala, 23, of Greencastle, Pa., was shot and killed at Zipper's.

The Hagerstown Police Department has issued a warrant for the arrest of Stephen Lamar Urquhart, 26, in connection with the crime.

Urquhart, who is charged with first-degree murder, remains at large.

Summers said he has talked to the management at Zipper's about safety issues in the past, but his advice had "fallen on deaf ears."

Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean, a Jonathan Street resident, said during the meeting that she has seen Zipper's security steadily deteriorate.

The infrastructure exists to have a secure bar, she said. The environment, however, has spawned a haven for wrongdoers.

To attract a more law-abiding clientele, Jones said Zipper's has changed the style of music in the bar.

Jones' son and Zipper's co-owner, Renell Jones, said the move seems to be working by attracting older patrons.

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