25 people shot at Ark. nightclub in alleged gang rivalry
Police are trying to locate suspected shooters and one Memphis rapper
Police say 25 people were shot when a suspected gang rivalry erupted inside a packed club in Little Rock early Saturday.
Several others were injured attempting to escape, with reports that some jumped from secondstory windows at the Power Ultra Lounge. Two people were still in critical condition, according to police.
“When you force these two communities into a small room and some kind of dispute ensues, it was a recipe for disaster,” Police Chief Kenton Buckner told reporters at a Saturday afternoon news conference.
Mayor Mark Stodola told reporters the Power Ultra Lounge would be shut down for unspecific violations, and “we’re going to be extra vigilant with the people walking the streets with guns.”
The police department was trying to find multiple suspected shooters — as well as rapper Ricky Hampton of Memphis, who police said has arrest warrants for violence related to his shows in other cities.
Hampton, who goes by the stage name Finese 2Tymes, was performing in Memphis in April when a shooting erupted there, according to WMC Action News 5 — although no injuries were reported that time.
Buckner said Saturday’s dispute could have been related to about a dozen drive-by shootings that took place in Little Rock the previous week. He also told reporters he was aware of a longstanding feud between groups in Little Rock and Memphis.
Two off-duty police officers were working the parking lot at the club, Buckner said. Shortly before they went home around 2 a.m., the chief said, the officers refused entry to a group of people, one of whom was openly carrying a gun.
Somehow, the chief said, those people found another way in. About half an hour later, he said “some sort of dispute ensued in the audience.”
The youngest victim was a 16year-old male, according to police. His family told a Fox 16 reporter he may never walk again.
In total, 28 people were injured, including three hurt in the chaotic escape.
The police said that in addition to looking for suspects and a motive, his department was preparing for the possibility of gang retaliations.
A reporter asked the police chief about a recent state law allowing concealed handguns into certain bars and many other places.
“All our elected officials need to take a look,” Buckner said. “Obviously this would be unintended consequences.”
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who signed that law in March, wrote after the shooting: “Little Rock’s crime problem appears to be intensifying . . . . Every few days a high profile shooting dominates the news, culminating with this morning’s event.”
An investigator collects evidence near Power Ultra Lounge in Little Rock where 25 people were shot Saturday. Police say this shooting could be related to shootings that took place in Little Rock last week.