Gunfire erupted at a hip-hop concert in a Little Rock, Arkansas nightclub early on Saturday morning, wounding 25 people and leading the governor to call for a fresh effort to reduce violent crime in the state capital.
Two of those wounded at the Power Ultra Lounge were in critical condition, Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner told reporters at a press conference, while the rest of the victims suffered what he described as non-life-threatening injuries.
Three other people were hurt in a frantic rush to the exits. The ages of the wounded ranged from 16 to 35.
Buckner said no suspects had been taken into custody in connection with the melee, which may have stemmed from a dispute between rival groups. He said the general public was not believed to be at risk and that the incident was not related to terrorism.
“On a Fourth of July weekend, where we wish to anticipate having fun with our friends and family, this is certainly a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Mayor Mark Stodola said at the news conference.
The shooting started at about 2:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, about 30 minutes after the downtown club’s scheduled closing time, local media reported.
A bystander’s video broadcast by local media showed the crowded club at the moment gunshots rang out, followed by the sound of people screaming in the dark.
After the shooting, the city revoked the Power Ultra Lounge’s liquor license and the club would shut down, Stodola said.
“This activity downtown is going to cease,” he said.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said it was time for the state to do more to reverse what he described as an intensifying crime problem in the state capital.
“We are still gathering facts, but it is clear that we need to have a comprehensive enforcement strategy in place that helps take the violent threats off the streets,” he said in a statement.
The club was hosting a concert by the hip-hop artist Finese 2Tymes on Friday night, according to the club’s Facebook page.
A promotional page for the performance shows a young man looking down the sight of what appears to be a gun, with the barrel pointed at the viewer.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Bernard Orr)