Club shoot­ing may have been gang-re­lated

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

LIT­TLE ROCK, Arkansas — Clubgoers screamed and scram­bled for cover as dozens of gun­shots rang out dur­ing a rap con­cert in down­town Lit­tle Rock early on Satur­day, leav­ing 28 peo­ple in­jured from an 11-sec­ond 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, Buck­ner said. Two peo­ple were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion. Po­lice said of­fi­cers did not have any sus­pects in cus­tody.

Court­ney Swani­gan, 23, told The As­so­ci­ated Press that when the gun­fire rang out, “I just closed my eyes, got down on the ground and put my hands on my head.”

City of­fi­cials said they would move on Mon­day to shut down the club un­der a “crim­i­nal abate­ment” pro­gram. State reg­u­la­tors sus­pended the club’s liquor li­cense ear­lier Satur­day.

On Satur­day night, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the land­lord’s of­fice posted an evic­tion no­tice on a door to the club. The no­tice stated that the club must move out of the prop­erty within three days “due to your fail­ure to main­tain the prem- ises in a safe con­di­tion.”

“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,” Mayor Mark Stodola said at an af­ter- noon news con­fer­ence.

He said the city must “keep guns out of the hands of the wrong peo­ple” and sug­gested that peo­ple refuse to pa­tron­ize clubs that seem 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 in our com­mu­nity,” the mayor said.

The shoot­ing capped a vi­o­lent week in Arkansas’ largest city. Po­lice had re­sponded to a dozen drive-by shoot­ings over the pre­vi­ous nine days.

We’ve got to use a big ham­mer on the peo­ple who would do vi­o­lence...” Mark Stodola, mayor of Lit­tle Rock

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