Prayer celebration held for shooting victims at Berkeley's Ashkenaz

March 17, 2013 11:56:34 AM PDT
Police are looking for one of two men who shot employees at a well-known Berkeley venue during a brazen robbery Friday night. Even as the two workers remain hospitalized, the music and dancing resumed Saturday at Ashkenaz.

"We are one spirit, one family, under one roof," band leader Baba Ken Okulolo said.

Hearts and heads hung low at Ashkenaz Saturday night. The prayer circle was in honor of Larry Chin and Stan Ellis, the two employees shot just after midnight during a robbery.

Chin was shot in the back of the head. One suspect climbed over him to steal the cash in Ashkenaz's cafe while at the same time, the second suspect was stealing money from Edwin Thaxter's cash drawer at the door.

"I just thought, ok god, here I come, and next thing I know my friend jumped him," Thaxter said.

Stan Ellis saw the suspects' gun on his friend and intervened. He was shot in the arm. It all reminds Thaxter of the day Ashkenaz's owner was shot and killed in 1996. Thaxter was working the door that day as well.

"You know, a little shooken up, it's like traumatized," Thaxter said.

Berkeley police arrested one of the suspects. They found him hiding just a few feet away from Ashkenaz.

In the meantime, the shootings have shaken this entire dance and music community. Classes were cancelled, but the beat was back.

"It's like a community, a dance community, a lovely place," said Ashkenaz regular Mara Blackwell.

Ashkenaz is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

People inside the venue Saturday signed a card for Ellis and Chin. Both men are in stable condition.


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