Club shooting may have been gang-related
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