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Strip club where security guard was killed condemned for operating without a license

Tuesday night, signs on the door of Area Code show the club is now condemned. Among the violations: a failure to obtain an occupancy permit.

HYATTSVILLE, Md. — The Area Code strip club is now closed and according to county citations it appears it should have been closed when a shooting happened there that claimed the life of 28-year-old security guard Alex Lynch. 

Lynch's family believes if the business had been following the law he would still be alive. 

"I would never have thought I would be burying my baby brother," Aaron Watkins told WUSA9 about Lynch who he said was a father of a 4-year-old son. 

"His son was his pride and joy," said Watkins who described his brother as a man with a generous heart and life of the party.

"Never a dull moment with Alex," Watkins said.

"No drama," added his cousin Okia Ferguson. "It was just all smiles."

And no real enemies that his family knew about. 

Which makes it even harder for them to understand why police say someone pulled up to the Area Code club where they say Lynch was working a second job as a security guard, opened fire and killed him.

"He never told me about no beef...my brother's not even a fighter," said Watkins.

Prince George's County Police said Tuesday they do not believe Lynch was armed at the time of the shooting. They also said two other people inside the club were also hit but should be okay. 

Police say they are reviewing security video and looking for potentially more than one suspect. 

Tuesday night, signs on the door of Area Code show the club is now condemned. Among the violations: a failure to obtain an occupancy permit.

WUSA9 has reached out to the county for clarity on the citations.

Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE) issued the following statement regarding the club:

"DPIE inspectors conducted an investigation at the site today. The owner of the establishment, located at 2430 Chillum Road in Chillum, was issued a Violation Notice for allowing the tenant to operate a nightclub without a valid Use and Occupancy Permit (U&O). A U&O was issued in 2007 for a night club/supper club/restaurant. The establishment operated for years as the Mustang. At some point, the tenancy changed, requiring a new U&O. The new tenant operated the nightclub as the Area Code without applying for the appropriate permits. The violations noted today by DPIE include the establishment not having a valid U&O and not having a sign permit. The facility was to be posted as not approved for occupancy."

Watkins, "The owner of that nightclub...I need answers from you, too. How you open your establishment knowing your license is not legit? If you did not do that my brother would not be dead right now."

On Wednesday, management for Area Code released the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Alex Lynch a.k.a Black. His passing represents an enormous personal loss to each and every one of us. Our most heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers go to his family. 

"We have fully cooperated with the investigators and provided them with everything they asked for including camera footage as they try to identify and bring the suspects to justice. We will continue to assist the investigators in this effort. 

"Regarding the violation notice from Prince George’s County DPIE stating the business (AreaCode Gentleman’s club) is operating without an approved Use and Occupancy, that is inaccurate and clearly a mixup. It is a legal business with a valid Use and Occupancy and approved liquor and Entertainment license; and we are working with DPIE to clarify this.

"It is worth noting that we have made requests to the county’s police department to approve police officers for secondary employment to protect our business and patrol our parking lot just like other lounges in the county; however, that request has been ignored because it is a gentleman’s club. Our staff and patrons need protection too from the county like any other business offering entertainment services. This shooting probably would not have happened if we had police officers protecting the business just like other lounges in the county licensed to provide entertainment services. It is our hope that the county will reconsider our request and approve secondary employment for police officers to this establishment so that patrons and employees will be protected."

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