Haven Lounge owner: ?It pisses me off?

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Crime,Jaime Malarkey
With the barrel of a gun against his head and four masked men demanding money, Keith Covington had one thought.

Not again.

One day later, Covington angrily recounted the second time in three months how thugs robbed his northeast jazz club, and blasted police for “neglecting” Northwood Plaza, the shopping center where it’s located They, he said, are partly to blame for the death of his friend, former Baltimore City Councilman Kenneth Harris Sr., who was shot to death during the Saturday morning incident.

“It pisses me off,” Covington said. “We feel isolated. We feel neglected.”

A funeral for Harris, 45, has been preliminary scheduled for Thursday morning at Morgan State University, his alma mater. City lawmakers plan to offer tributes to their former colleague at a regularly scheduled meeting this evening.

Police said Sunday they are no closer to identifying suspects.  The lounge has no security cameras and Covington said he only rarely hires a doorman — expenses he said would impede the club from attracting top acts.


Harris was a vocal advocate for increased police presence in the neighborhood and at the plaza, a strip mall near Morgan State where the popular club, New Haven Lounge, has been since 1986. Harris had been using his political leverage to help Covington relocate to a safer area, the owner said.

On Sunday, Mary Reed, a long-time area resident, stopped to look at a makeshift memorial to Harris outside the club. Reed said she frequents the shopping center and is careful to remain alert.

“I never dreamed anything like this would actually happen, though,” Reed said. “It’s just senseless.”

In the parking lot, a woman beckoned a reporter to the window of her SUV and also complained about lax security in the plaza.

“I’ve been sitting here for more than an hour waiting for my son to get his hair cut,” said the woman, who asked for her name to be withheld. “I have yet to see a patrol car go by. It’s ridiculous.”

Covington’s bother and assistant manager, Gary Covington, said they are revamping security at New Haven and may end up closing altogether.

“Everyone’s concerned,” he said. “Maybe they will be scared to come now someone was murdered in our parking lot.”

Keith Covington said he has been replaying the events of Saturday morning in his mind. The club closed Saturday but was open as usual Sunday with a comedian scheduled to perform last night.

“But tonight,” Keith Covington said, “I’m just not into it.”

jmalarkey@baltimoreexaminer.com
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