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Gunfight at bar leaves one wounded, another in custody

New Hampshire Union Leader Staff
Sunday, Apr. 15, 2007

MANCHESTER â€" Bullets flew outside the Uptown Tavern early yesterday when a peeved patron began shooting at a doorman after being thrown out of the club. The shooter himself was shot twice by an armed customer who rushed to the bouncer's defense, a club owner and police said.

The shooter had missed doorman Chad Ryan after firing about four shots at him in the 1301 Elm St. club's parking lot when the alleged gunman was himself hit twice by the unidentified patron who returned fire about 12:45 a.m., said club co-owner Dave Somers.

The wounded suspect, identified by police as Eliezer Encarnacion, 26, and his companion -- both of whom were thrown out of the club moments earlier -- ran from the parking lot up Myrtle Street with an angry group of club patrons in pursuit.

"A bunch of people came pouring out of the Uptown yelling, 'Are you going to shoot at me?' and started chasing them," said Jessica Doty, 20, who lives next door.

Encarnacion, of 214 Bremer St., Apt. 2, limped nearly the length of the block -- splattering blood on porch stoops, the sidewalk and street -- before he collapsed near 83 Myrtle St. and the group caught up with him and his friend, witnesses said.

"There was a mob of people chasing after them," said one neighbor, who refused to give his name. After tracking down the pair, "they opened up their cell phones to see what had happened ... I thought they were going to beat him up, but they didn't. I think they saw the guy was hurt," the neighbor continued.

Witnesses said they saw a .45 caliber handgun lying on the street about 20 feet from the club's rear door. Police said they recovered the .45 caliber handgun allegedly used by Encarnacion along with the patron's handgun.

Encarnacion was in serious condition at Elliot Hospital where he underwent surgery for gunshot wounds to the right arm and right leg, police and a hospital spokesperson said. He was arrested at the hospital on three counts of attempted first-degree assault and possession of a firearm without a serial number.

His companion, Adrian Brown, 32, of 46 Dover St., Apt. 8, was arrested on a probation violation on Myrtle Street and placed on a 72-hour detention. He is being held without bail at Hillsborough County jail.
Both men are Virgin Islands natives and know each other, police said.
Neighbors said they heard from four to eight shots. Det. Lt. Nick Willard said "numerous shots" were fired, but would not say how many.

Encarnacion and Brown were drinking in the club's upstairs lounge for several hours when one of them grabbed a female patron's buttocks and they were asked to leave, said Somers, recounting events told him by his on-duty manager.

After the two were escorted from the bar, doorman Ryan remained outside when one of the men went to his vehicle and came back with a handgun, Somers said.

"He (Ryan) was standing outside the door making sure everything was cool. This guy decides to pull out a gun and shoot at him," he continued.
Encarnacion was about six to eight feet from Ryan when he fired the first shot, hitting the door frame, Willard said. When the second shot rang out, a male customer inside the bar realized what was happening and intervened, he continued.

"He feels the bouncer's life is in danger and he produces his own firearm and proceeds to return fire," said Willard, who credited the patron with saving the doorman and possibly even Brown from being shot.
Police withheld the patron's name while they continue their investigation, which will include an inquiry into whether his use of deadly force was justified.

Club employees were not aware the customer -- described as a regular patron -- was carrying a concealed weapon, Somers said.
"I'm not okaying it. But if he didn't, probably my doorman would be dead," Somers said.

Co-owner Roy Arsenault said nothing like this has ever happened in the 15 years the tavern has been in business. And he said, "We do not want this ever to happen again."

Arsenault, who arrived at the Uptown a few minutes after the shooting happened, said there were 30 to 40 people inside at the time.
He said the owners will do whatever Manchester police advise to ensure the safety of the club's customers and employees in the future. "Our whole concern is public safety," he said. "We're not going to have anybody get hurt."
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