NEW YORK – A bouncer accused of killing a man and wounding three others outside a lounge was arraigned on a murder charge Thursday, as police continued to investigate whether he was involved in other slayings.
Stephen Sakai, 30, of Brooklyn, faces charges of second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault in the Tuesday night shootings outside the Opus 22 lounge in the Chelsea neighborhood.
Assistant District Attorney Charles Whitt called Sakai a "stone-cold killer" at the arraignment in a Manhattan court. Judge ShawnDya Simpson ordered Sakai held without bail.
Police also were probing whether Sakai was involved in three other fatal shootings, law enforcement officials said Thursday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation had not been completed, said the suspect made statements implicating himself in those slayings.
One of the victims had worked as a bouncer at a topless bar in Brooklyn, one official said. His body was found Nov. 16 in a basement apartment; he had been shot in the back of the head.
Sakai's lawyer, Edward D. Wilford, said Thursday police and prosecutors had interrogated his client for 21 hours without allowing him to see a lawyer.
Asked about reports that the bouncer had confessed to several killings, Wilford said, "As far as I'm concerned, it is a false confession."
Sakai was taken into custody early Wednesday morning after a manhunt, but wasn't formally charged by police until late at night.
Details of the shooting remained unclear Thursday, but police and witnesses said the confrontation involved a group of patrons who had been ushered out of the lounge.
Gustavo Cuadros, 25, of Red Bank, N.J, was shot and killed. Three other men suffered gunshot wounds, including one shot through the neck.
A spokesman for New York's Department of State said Sakai passed a criminal history check when he obtained a license to work as a security guard, but did not have a harder-to-get license allowing him to carry a gun on the job.