Another Tragic Shooting — This Time in Bellevue

On Dec. 24, just after 1 a.m., one person was killed and another injured by gunfire just before last call at Munchbar, located at Kemper Freeman’s Bellevue Square. KING 5 News reported that several altercations led to the shooting. Reports also said several Seattle Seahawks players and reality TV star Aubrey O’Day were among a crowd of hundreds in the Munchbar when the shooting began.

SUSPECT HAS VIOLENT HISTORY

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ja’mari Alexander Allen Jones, 19, who is suspected of carrying out the shooting. He was one of the three teenagers responsible for the beating death of Seattle’s well-known “Tuba Man,” Ed McMichael. You may have seen him playing his tuba outside Seattle sports games and concerts. He was playing his tuba near a bus stop in 2008 when Ja’mari Jones and his gang robbed and beat him so severely that he died a week later.

Bellevue police are asking anyone who witnessed the shooting or has information on Jones to contact them. Ja’mari Jones is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs 140 pounds and is likely armed and dangerous. Contact police by calling 911 or a tip-line at (425) 452-2564. Emails can be sent to pdtipline@bellevuewa.gov.

WHY WAS HE ALLOWED INTO A BAR WITH A PISTOL?

While preparing for a trial that eventually led to a record-breaking $46 million verdict against Denny’s restaurant for a shooting in Kent, Wash., Perey Law Group lawyers learned that the “bar rush” can be a dangerous time for customers at late-night establishments. When last call for alcohol is given, emotions may not be under control. Bars and late-night businesses need to take precautions and enhance security. Increased security where alcohol is served late at night is the only way to keep everyone safe.

The Christmas Eve shooting comes on the heels of national tragedies — the horrific killings of children in Newtown, Conn., the ambush of volunteer firefighters in upstate New York —  that have sparked discussions about gun laws in America. Like the U.S. Constitution, Washington’s state Constitution protects the individual right to bear arms.  But it is still illegal for:

  • a person under 21 years of age to have a handgun
  • a person of any age to carry a concealed handgun without a permit
  • a person to carry a pistol into a bar

WHO IS LIABLE?

Based on the reported facts, it seems Ja’mari Jones violated all three laws when he went into the Bellevue Square Munchbar. Alcohol and firearms don’t mix. That is common sense that everyone can agree upon.

Munchbar is marketed as a sports bar by day and a hip-hop club named Mirror Ultra Lounge after dark. Did management have any security measures in place? How was Ja’mari allowed into the bar at age 19 — evidently with a concealed handgun, no less? How did this happen? Those questions will require investigation and more facts. Hopefully, nobody else will be hurt or killed before police are able to locate and arrest Jones.