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Strip Club Bouncer Slain; Was Told to Quit Because it Was “Unsafe”

A former Marine was fatally shot late Thursday while working as a bouncer outside a Hyattsville strip club, Prince George’s County police said yesterday.

Gregory Barron Jr., 33, was shot multiple times in the chest in the parking lot of Mustang’s nightclub in the 2400 block of Chillum Road, less than a mile from his home in the 5700 block of Queens Chapel Road. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police initially said it appeared that Barron, who was not armed, was shot by a someone who refused to be frisked before entering the roadside bar. Hours later, Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a police spokesman, said detectives were no longer sure of that after other witnesses gave conflicting accounts.

“At this point, all we know is he got into some kind of altercation with a suspect, and from that he was shot,” Copeland said.

Copeland also backed away from early police reports that two men had fled the scene together. He said officers were searching for one man and possibly a second who might have approached the club with him.

Barron’s family members said he had worked at the club for the past four years and enjoyed it, despite their concerns that it was dangerous.

“He liked it because he felt that he was helping people in a way, helping keep the wrong people out,” Gregory Barron Sr., 53, said in a phone interview from his home in Maastricht, Netherlands. “I know what it’s like. I did it in clubs in Amsterdam and Germany.”

Barron said his son grew up in the District, Georgia and Germany and then followed him into the military, declining a scholarship to Georgia Tech in 1993.

“Being in the military, you’re hard on your kids. I guess that’s why they all became little soldiers,” said Barron, who also has a son in the Coast Guard.

He said that Gregory had “a good heart, a good soul” and that his death would be particularly hard on his grandmother, who lives in the District, “because every time she needed something, she’d call him.”

Lillie Barron, 78, said that the last time she saw her grandson, she urged him to stop working as a bouncer.

“Please quit that,” she remembers telling him. “It’s dangerous. Everybody is carrying a gun around these days. You need to be safe.”

Barron has a daughter who was born about the time he left the service in 1997, his father and grandmother said. She lives with her mother in North Carolina, they said, but has spent most summers with him. They could not say if his daughter had been in the Washington area when he was shot. The girl’s mother did not immediately return a phone call yesterday.

A man who answered the phone at Mustang’s declined to give his name or talk about the slaying but called Barron a “great guy.”

The homicide is the first at a Hyattsville area nightclub this year. Last year, a string of 11 homicides in 11 days prompted Prince George’s officials to temporarily close nine clubs and other nighttime establishments in the area. Mustang’s was not among those closed.

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