Arrest Made in East Village Bouncer Slay

Police are looking for surveillance video

By Victoria Cavaliere and Hasani Gittens
|  Monday, Aug 24, 2009  |  Updated 4:46 PM EDT
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Arrest Made in East Village Bouncer Slay

NBCNewYork

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Police have made at least one arrest in connection with the fatal shooting of a bouncer at a trendy East Village lounge early Sunday.

Eric "Taz" Pagan, an off-duty doorman at the bar, was fatally shot in the head at close range outside Forbidden City on Ave. A near E. 13th St. just after 5 a.m., cops and witnesses said.

Some bar patrons and workers were looking for a set of keys on the street in front of the bar when a white van driving down nearly sideswiped them, which then lead to a verbal altercation, sources said.

A man stepped out of a white van with a hand gun, sending Pagan, 42, and other employees running, witnesses said.

"I saw a big guy get out of the driver's seat with a gun," witness Eric Searle, a nightlife promoter who was standing across the street, told the Daily News.

"He then walked around a car and popped one guy," said Searle. "He then walked around another car, went straight up to [the bouncer] and capped him point-blank in the forehead."

"He collapsed and there was blood pouring everywhere," Searle said of the bouncer. "The shooter didn't say anything -- not a word. He just capped those guys and walked back to his car and drove off."

Pagan later died at the hospital.

On Monday afternoon police officials announced that they had arrested Louis Rodriguez, 29, of East 117th Street in Manhattan. He is charged with murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

"At least he won't be hurting anybody else," Forbidden City manager Ron Ancheta told NBC New York. "At least they got him, so much is off our shoulders now that they caught the motherf..."

Ancheta, who was in the bar at the time, said the shooter was cold-blooded before and after pulling the trigger.

"This guy did it in front of a lot of people -- as soon as it happened there were people across the street, there were guys in the deli, people in the crosswalks --  I was like wow, this guy, he was an evil guy, pure evil, he had no remorse at all, he said." [And] after he shoots Taz he walks calmly to his car, turns on the music and drives away. He turned on the music first!"

"Whoever did this was completely senseless," Pagan's sister told the News as she wept at the hospital. "There's no other way to put it."

Robert Calbo, 30 was shot in the hand and Salvador Moran, 30 was hit in the stomach, the News reported. Both are reportedly in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital.

Pagan, a father of two, was a part-time electrician who had stopped by Forbidden City to collect tools and ended up running into the path of a bullet, witnesses told the News.

Sunday was Latin music night, and many of Pagan's friends would drop by to see him at the lounge  where he had worked since 2001, according to  Ancheta.

"If he saw something he would have gotten involved," pal Luciene Pina, 39, told the paper. "He kept everybody safe. Not only was he working, he felt compelled to keep everyone safe walking the streets." 

There have been no arrests but police are combing the area looking for witnesses and surveillance video.

Ancheta said that the shooter likely didn't know Pagan, who had a  teenage son and daughter.

"If they knew him, they wouldn't have done that," Ancheta  said. "He's never done anything to anyone."

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