Police: 14 hurt in shooting at Tempe, Ariz., club
Sunday, March 4, 2012
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Police made one arrest and were looking for two other suspects after a shootout amid a large crowd outside an Arizona nightclub left more than a dozen people wounded and set off a chaotic scene as the injured screamed for help and hundreds tried to flee.
The number of people confirmed wounded in the shooting late Friday in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe rose to 14 after a person went to a hospital Saturday with a gunshot wound to the foot, police spokesman Lt. Mike Horn said.
None of the wounded had life-threatening injuries. Twelve of them had relatively minor injuries, some driving themselves to hospitals, while two were seriously hurt.
“People were running in all different directions, and some people were trying to force their way into the bar to get away,” Horn said. “It was incredibly chaotic, and understandably so. Again, we’re just fortunate that no one was killed.”
The man in custody is one of three who opened fire at one another after they began arguing as a crowd of at least 250 people lined up outside The Clubhouse Music Venue for a hip-hop show late Friday, Horn said. He was in a car that a patrol officer stopped just after the shooting.
Horn said all three men are believed to be affiliated with Phoenix-area gangs. He asked for the public’s help in identifying the two still at large.
Witness Paul Butler was among the crowd waiting to get into the club to hear Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle perform. Butler told KTVK-TV that he heard a series of pops as the gunfire erupted.
“And you see everybody running, couple more shots, everybody running,” Butler said. “It was pure chaos.”
Police had only a vague description of suspects wearing dark clothing who ran away from the club on East Broadway Road, about 7 miles east of downtown Phoenix.
Hussle never took the stage for the midnight show but tweeted after the shooting: “Az .... y’all gotta be cool man. This ... ain’t rite.”
A phone call and email to his publicist weren’t immediately returned.
Four hours after the shooting, the parking lot was virtually empty with only police activity apparent. All entrances to the lot were cordoned off with tape, and squad cars were posted around the area.
The website for the business — located in a strip mall within two miles of Arizona State University’s main campus in Tempe — says it’s been in operation for six years hosting music shows nightly for all age groups.
Horn said the one suspect in custody was being held on 13 counts of aggravated assault and one count of assisting a criminal street gang.
There have been problems at the club in the past, Horn said, including a 2007 fatal shooting that remains unsolved. Police worked with the club owner then after learning he was turning over his business to promoters for events, believing the owner was absolving himself of responsibility for anything that happened, Horn said. Police followed up with the owner about a year and a half ago, to make sure he was providing adequate security.
That may not have been in place late Friday, Horn said. Some witnesses told police that some people in line refused to be searched for weapons.
Horn urged anyone who can help identify the two men being sought to call Tempe police or the local “silent witness” telephone line at 480-WITNESS.
Associated Press writer Bob Seavey in Phoenix contributed to this story.
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