BY BILL BROWN
Police used pepper spray to break up fights, and a gunshot was reported early Sunday morning, Sept. 6 in Takoma Old Town.
The incidents were related to a party held at the Roda Movements studio on Westmoreland Avenue near its Carroll Avenue intersection. The studio was rented for the event. Roda owner Roberto Tapia, who was not present during the party, issued an apology to the community Monday, Sept. 7, saying “There is no excuse for the level of chaos and violence that took place.”
Tapia vowed “We will no longer be renting the studio for events after 11:00 PM. We will continue to work to make sure that people and groups using our studio are part of our mission of providing a space for dance, music, fitness and culture.”
Takoma Park Police Chief Alan Goldberg said in an email statement that fights broke out at the event in the Sunday morning wee hours and spilled into the street. He said “officers dispersed the crowd utilizing OC (pepper spray) on the combatants.”
“Allegedly,” said Chief Goldberg, “an individual produced a handgun, firing it in the air before leaving the area in a vehicle.”
Roda’s space, said the chief, was apparently rented by a promoter who held what the police believe was a Go-Go event attended by area college students.
Roda has been renting its space for events for several months, say police, resulting in neighborhood noise complaints as well as a few alcohol and park curfew violations. The county-owned “Takoma Park Neighborhood Park” is across the street from Roda Movements.