Mothers United Against Violence held a vigil for another victim of gun violence in Hartford Tuesday night. The fatal shooting of Marquis Treadwell over the weekend marks the city’s fourth homicide of 2020.
Despite the rain, members of the community and Treadwell’s family gathered outside the Majestic Lounge on Franklin Avenue.
“We gotta stop fighting, shooting, over stuff that’s senseless,” said Glenn Treadwell, Marquis’ father. “Talk -- if you talk about it, it solves more problems than killing someone.”
Police allege that 28-year-old Treadwell was fatally shot by Joshua Saez inside the Majestic Lounge, a South End nightclub. Treadwell’s fiancée was shot nine times but survived her injuries.
“We’re tired of people being shot in the city, we’re tired of our women being shot in the city,” said Rev. Henry Brown, a lead organizer and founding member of Mothers United Against Violence. “The people who are responsible for this -- we need them out of our community.”
Treadwell’s fiancée is one of four survivors, including Saez. The alleged shooter remains hospitalized and under police supervision. Police said the 30-year-old was arraigned Tuesday afternoon on charges of murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault, criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a firearm. Police are still searching for the person who shot Saez.
“I’m tired of burying children,” said Glenn Treadwell, whose 26-year-old daughter, Julie, was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend in 2013.
“He’d walk in a room and you couldn’t help but smile,” said Kelsey Treadwell, Marquis’ sister. “Thinking about it brings a smile back to my face. We laughed, we giggled, we joked. He was a big jokester, so I’m going to cherish those moments forever and that’s all I have now are the memories.”
The state Department of Consumer Protection announced the immediate suspension of the Majestic Lounge’s liquor license Tuesday afternoon after a request from Hartford Interim Police Chief Jason Thody.
“First, our thoughts are with the friends and family of those killed and injured this weekend. We take violence in liquor establishments incredibly seriously and work to ensure that liquor permittees in our state have processes in place to prevent it,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull in a statement.
In the wake of the shooting, Seagull described the Majestic Lounge as an establishment that’s “operated in a manner that imperils public safety and demonstrates the need for better control of the premise by the permittee, backer or their agents.”
The Majestic Lounge came back to the attention of police in October 2019 after separate shooting and stabbing incidents. Lt. Aaron Boisvert met with the establishment’s owner, Albano Shehu, that month and issued a warning letter stating that if another incident occurred, Shehu would have to hire police officers in accordance with Hartford’s municipal code Sec. 29-17. Boisvert said Shehu was “cooperative” and “expressed concern” at the time of their meeting.
Boisvert designated the club as a “hot spot,” choosing to increase direct officer patrols as a deterrent, though he noted that the Majestic Lounge is not the only establishment in the city where violence occurs and the same “strategic positioning” of officers is instituted.
Police were outside the Franklin Avenue club early Sunday morning when they heard shots inside.
According to the warrant for Saez’s arrest, Saez shot Treadwell in the chest after a verbal argument, then fired at Treadwell’s fiancée. The affidavit states that the man who shot Saez used a handgun allegedly given to him by Treadwell.
On Monday, Thody ordered Shehu to hire four police officers and a sergeant if the Majestic Lounge were to reopen. The ordinance allows for an appeal within 10 days. Under the ordinance, a hired police detail remains on the premises from opening to closing but cannot perform pat-downs, according to Boisvert. The club’s security, however, can. During the vigil, Brown said the club shouldn’t have been allowed to function without metal detectors, given its history.
“Who’s getting in with these weapons?” said Kelsey Treadwell. “Aren’t you supposed to have security, aren’t you supposed to be patted down before walking into somewhere? Now where can we go? I don’t want to go out ever again, that’s how I look at it. It’s not safe.”
In 2010, 27-year-old Jeanna Flores was fatally shot outside the same location, which at the time was known as Franklin Bar & Grill. Her mother, Rita Ettienne, attended the vigil.
“I feel you guys’ pain. It’s a pain that -- you can’t even explain it,” Ettienne said to Treadwell’s father and sister. “And it goes nowhere, our pain goes nowhere. It’s been 10 years and it was just like yesterday.”