Posted Sunday, March 27, 3:25 p.m.
Updated 4:58 p.m.
A 20-year-old man died and two were injured in a stabbing outside a GW student group-sponsored party early Sunday morning. Metropolitan Police and University officials said they have no indication that GW students were among those involved in the fight at the Bhangra Blowout after-party in the downtown Old Post Office Pavilion.
The cause of the fight, which occurred at about 2:45 a.m. outside the pavilion, located at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., is still being investigated, said Lt. William Farr of MPD’s Violent Crime Unit in an interview Sunday afternoon.
“We have no idea right now (what happened),” he said. “We’re just going to call it an argument.”
Farr said an Indian or Pakistani male, identified as Ranjit Singh, of Phillipsburg, N.J., died in the fight, which also may have involved an Hispanic or Indian male. Neither of the men have been tied to GW. Singh was pronounced dead at the GW Hospital.
The Associated Press said two men were wounded as they confronted the man running along Pennsylvania Avenue. The suspect was able to drive away in a green car.
“We don’t think they were students,” said Farr, who would not disclose any more details about the men. “It’s still early in the investigation.”
The Bhangra Blowout after-party followed a daylong slate of events celebrating South Asian dance and music. About 1,200 people – many of them from other schools – attended the party, which was sold out and ran from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., said Tracy Schario, GW’s media relations director.
A private company and the Post Office Pavilion deployed a 35-member security staff at the event. Partygoers also needed to pass through a metal detector because the pavilion is part of a federal complex.
South Asian Society Public Relations Chair Samantha Panda said there was more security at the after-party this year than in years past. Her group sold 1,250 tickets this year, compared to about 2,500 tickets last year and had more security officers in the building. She said it was a decision between the South Asian Society and the Student Activities Center to sell fewer tickets and heighten security.
“We’re dealing with a lot of people, so we just wanted to make sure that everything was taken care of,” Panda, a junior, said.
She said the decision to heighten security did not have anything to do with a rumored scuffle that occurred after the event last year. She added that people have always had to pass through metal detectors before entering the Post Office Pavilion.
Sophomore Fahim Hemani, who also attended the after-party, said he had not heard about the stabbing, but “knows for a fact” that something occurred last year. He said some of his close friends saw someone try to cut another person with a broken CD case.
“I think things happen when you put a lot of people in a place like that … but, I don’t think it characterizes these types of parties,” Hemani said. Sophomore Nisha Balsara, who attended Bhangra Blowout and the after-party, said she heard about the incident, but was skeptical about its truth because she also heard stories last year about a stabbing at the after-party. She said those rumors were not true.
The after-party stabbing is the latest in a spate of nightclub violence. MPD Chief Charles Ramsey wrote a letter last month calling on city officials to shut down Dream, a popular nightclub in northeast D.C. that has been the scene of at least a dozen non-fatal stabbings and fights since December. Three killings and several other violent crimes have recently occurred at Club U, located at 2000 14th St. in the city’s U Street section, prompting calls from city officials to shut down the establishment.
Farr, of the MPD Violent Crimes branch, said nightclub violence has “not necessarily” increased lately, despite recent calls from city officials to take steps against such incidents.
He said, “It’s been pretty much the same through the last couple of years.”