Police: Club shooting that injured 28 may be gang-related – Washington Post

 In U.S.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Clubgoers screamed and scrambled for cover as dozens of gunshots rang out during a rap concert in downtown Little Rock early 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 Saturday afternoon. 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 Monday to shut down the club under a “criminal abatement” program. State regulators suspended the club’s liquor license earlier Saturday 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,” Stodola said at an afternoon 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.

“This does appear to be a continuation of disputes from some of our local groups,” Buckner said. “You’ve seen some of the things playing out in our streets that has resulted in drive-by shootings.”

The shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. about 1 mile (1.61 kilometers) east of the state Capitol building. First-responders are stationed through the central part of the city and hospitals are a quick ride away.

“We had professional people responding to that incident and they did what they were trained to do, and I know they probably had something to do with the fact we didn’t have any fatalities,” Buckner said. He also credited divine intervention.

Top state officials offered to help the city respond to an increasing number of incidents.

“Little Rock’s crime problem appears to be intensifying,” Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “Every few days it seems a high-profile shooting dominates the news, culminating with this morning’s event. I have spoken this morning with Mayor (Mark) Stodola and I have offered both my heart felt concern over this senseless violent tragedy and state assets as needed to address the continued threat of violence in our community.”

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