Police said 17 people were hurt in a shooting early on Saturday after a dispute at a nightclub in downtown Little Rock. The city’s police chief said officers suspected multiple people fired weapons and that the incident was not terror related.
The shooting happened at the Power Ultra Lounge, a club in a two-story building about a mile east of the state capitol. Police cordoned off the block as crime-scene technicians gathered evidence inside and outside the club. Glass from second-story windows littered the ground, along with empty drink cups.
“We do NOT believe this incident was an active shooter or terror related incident,” the city police posted on its Twitter account overnight. “It appears to have been a dispute at a concert.”
Little Rock police added that all 17 victims were alive and that one person who had been in critical condition was upgraded to stable.
“One is too many. Seventeen is very alarming and certainly disturbing,” Little Rock police chief Kenton Buckner told reporters. He said “some sort of dispute broke out between people inside” the club and that there were “probably multiple shooting suspects”.
A video posted online by a club patron showed a packed house for Finese 2Tymes, a performer from Memphis, Tennessee. About half a minute into a break in the raucous concert, several bursts of gunfire rang out. More than 24 shots were fired in an 11-second period.
The shooting follows a week in which there have been about a dozen drive-by shootings in the Arkansas capital, though there has been no indication the events were linked.
Early on Saturday, Rada Bunch waited outside the club after she had heard from a friend that her son had been there and may have been shot. She had received little information about the incident, she said.
“I’m sick of all the killing and I’m tired of all the shooting, the kids getting hurt,” Bunch said.
The club’s Facebook page promoted Friday night’s show with a poster depicting a man pointing what appeared to be a gun at the camera. A call to a number listed for Finese 2Tymes’ booking agent was not immediately returned.
Little Rock mayor Mark Stodola said on Facebook more information would be released at a news conference on Saturday afternoon.
“My heart is broken this morning my prayers are with the victims of this tragedy,” he wrote. He went on to add: “We are committed to doing everything possible to bring safety to our city. We need everyone to help.”
In May, one person was killed and six people were hurt in a mass shooting at a concert in Jonesboro, Arkansas, about 115 miles north-east of Little Rock. In that case, two men were charged with first-degree murder and six counts of first-degree battery.