WORLD Rap gig ends in hail of bul­lets

Townsville Bulletin - - WORLD -

CLUBGOERS screamed and scram­bled for cover as dozens of gun­shots rang out dur­ing a rap con­cert in cen­tral Lit­tle Rock early yes­ter­day, leav­ing 28 peo­ple injured from an 11sec­ond melee that po­lice said may be gang- re­lated.

The vol­ley of gun­fire inside the Power Ul­tra Lounge came so fast that in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve mul­ti­ple peo­ple had to have been in­volved.

Po­lice Chief Ken­ton Buck­ner cred­ited quick work by first re­spon­ders for there be­ing no fa­tal­i­ties.

Twenty- five peo­ple be­tween the ages of 16 and 35 suf­fered gun­shot wounds, and three oth­ers were hurt, per­haps while flee­ing, Mr Buck­ner said. Two peo­ple were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

Po­lice did not have any sus­pects in cus­tody late yes­ter­day.

Court­ney Swani­gan, 23, said it was ter­ri­fy­ing when the gun­fire rang out.

“I just closed my eyes, got down on the ground and put my hands on my head,” she said.

City of­fi­cials said they would move to­day to shut down the club un­der a “crim­i­nal abate­ment” pro­gram.

Arkansas State reg­u­la­tors sus­pended the club’s liquor li­cence and Mayor Mark Stodola said the prop­erty’s man­ager was de­liv­er­ing an evic­tion no­tice.

“We know we’ve got to use a ham­mer, we’ve got to use a big ham­mer on the peo­ple who would do vi­o­lence with guns and hurt peo­ple,” he said. He sug­gested that peo­ple refuse to pa­tro­n­ise clubs that seemed to pro­mote vi­o­lence.

Ma­te­rial ad­ver­tis­ing the con­cert by Ten­nessee rapper Fi­nese 2Tymes showed a man point­ing a gun at a cam­era.

“A pro­mo­tional video with a gun on the front cover invit­ing peo­ple to a con­cert ... should also be to­tally un­ac­cept­able,” the mayor said.

The shoot­ing capped a viol- ent week in Arkansas’ largest city.

Po­lice had re­sponded to a dozen drive- by shoot­ings over the pre­vi­ous nine days.

“This does ap­pear to be a con­tin­u­a­tion of dis­putes from some of our lo­cal groups,” Chief Buck­ner said.

The shoot­ing oc­curred around 2.30am lo­cal time.

Arkansas law­mak­ers this year passed a law al­low­ing con­cealed hand­guns in bars, with per­mis­sion of the busi­nesses’ own­ers and if the gun per­mit holder com­pletes ad­di­tional train­ing. The law takes ef­fect on Septem­ber 1, but the train­ing likely won’t be avail­able un­til next year.

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