Two fights in as many weeks outside Dark Horse Saloon

BEL AIR, Md. - For the second time in as many weeks, Bel Air Police have responded to the parking lot outside the Dark Horse Saloon where late night trouble has spilled out of the business leading to a pair of violent encounters.

"Shocked," said the restaurant and bar's co-owner, Chris Reda, "These are isolated instances.  We've been in business almost three years (and) never had anything like this before."

Reda and his fellow owner, Gina Carapico, say safety comes first at the establishment, but the court of public opnion has been quick to judge the business since police say a suspect who remains at large stabbed a pair of men 10 days ago.

That spat started inside the saloon before the unruly patrons were shown the door.

"They weren't kicking (and) screaming," said Reda, "It was probably more pushing and shoving inside the restaurant.  It escalated... it wasn't even in our parking lot.  It was near Bank of America up the street more so than our parking lot, and there's only so much you can do."

A week later, more violence followed---this time when an apparent domestic dispute turned violent in that same lot.

"She was literally here for less than a minute," said Carapico, "The incident on Saturday... she walked in the door and in less than a minute was fighting with a gentleman you know screaming, 'Who is she?'  It's an isolated, random incident that just happened here."

The business is now working with police and the liquor board to come up with a proactive way to address such incidents.

"We don't want to become known for something like that," said Reda, "We're a restaurant-based place so we don't want to have any possible bad incidents on our record.  We take it very... security and our staff take people's security very seriously and fights are the furthest thing we want to see or promote or have anything to do with."

Reached by telephone, Harford County Liquor Board Administrator Katherine Thess says she plans to meet with the owners on Wednesday.

She says they have been an asset to Bel Air since they opened the Dark Horse Saloon, and that the municipal parking lot has become a catch all on weekends for people spilling out of numerous businesses in the area.

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