Sixteen people were shot at the Cameo nightclub in Cincinnati, Ohio after police said conflict escalated between two groups of people inside the packed hip hop club.
One person, OBryan Raphael Spikes, 27, has died in the Cincinnati nightclub shooting, according to Cincinnati.com.
A manhunt was underway for the shooter on March 26. Police said there was no indication the shooting was terrorism related. There was contradictory information about the number of shooters.
Despite reports of more than one shooter, police initially said on Twitter that there “was only one reported shooter at this time” but said they were still investigating. The shooter’s name was not yet released. In a later news conference, though, police said more than one person fired weapons.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Brawl Broke Out & Twenty Shots Were Fired With a ‘Big Gun’
An eyewitness told Cincinnati.com that a “brawl” started inside the club, and the gunfire that erupted was so loud that it could be heard above the music.
“It was a big gun because you heard it over the music,” Mauricio Thompson said to the newspaper. “Everybody’s running. Everybody scattered to get out of the club.”
In a press conference on March 26, the police chief, Eliot Isaac, said, “Last night, at about 1:30 a.m., our emergency communications section began receiving calls that shots had been fired…”
Spikes was a father attending junior college:
The chief said another person was in extremely critical condition, and several others had serious injuries. Other injuries were minor, he said. He said that Spikes died at the scene. According to Fox 19, the mother of one of the victims said he was fighting for his life and had been at the club celebrating a birthday.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich expressed upset over the shooting, telling CNN, “Where is it safe to go?” Jay Rodgers, the owner of the club, released a statement that said in part, “As a part of this local community, we will continue to fully cooperate and work closely with law enforcement in their investigation to help bring the perpetrators to justice. Cameo will remain closed until both our management completes our own investigation and the Cincinnati Police Department completes their investigation.”
2. A Long Simmering Conflict Boiled Over in the Club
City Manager Harry Black said that the conflict between two groups or people had started earlier in the day, according to WLWT-TV.
“The conflict is believed to have begun between specific groups or individuals earlier in the day, escalating and ultimately leading to this tragedy occurring at the nightclub,” he said to the television station.
As the night unfolded, the chief said in the news conference, “it was determined that the bar was very crowded, approximately a couple hundred people. Several local men got into some kind of dispute inside the bar and it escalated in shots being fired from several individuals. As a result, there were 16 people that sustained gunshot injuries, one of which is deceased.”
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, “The Cameo nightclub shooting is the worst mass shooting in the United States in 2017.”
The mayor, John Cranley, asked all of Cincinnati to pray for the victims and their families. “This is going to be a long process for us to solve these crimes and heal as a community,” he said. He said that the shooting was not terrorism related but people were “terrorized” nonetheless. “This is a country where you should be able to go out and have a good time without being in fear of being shot…while our hearts are broken, our spirit is not.”
3. The Club Was Packed With Hundreds of People When the Shooting Occurred
Police described a “chaotic” scene that broke out.
Police said many people fled when the shooting erupted, complicating the investigation, and there was “only one reported shooter at this time” despite previous reports of multiple shooters.
Police Capt. Kimberly Williams said in a news conference that most people ran outside the club during the shooting.
The mayor said that police need the public’s help to identify the shooters.
4. The Club Has a History of Gun Violence
The city manager told Cincinnati.com that gun violence has occurred at the club before.
“Cameo club has a history of gun violence including a shooting inside the club on New Years Day 2015 and a shooting in the parking lot in September of the same year,” City Manager Black told the newspaper.
Williams said “it was a very young crowd” and “we have had incidents there in the past, but this was the worst by far.”
Police are investigating how the shooters got the guns inside the club. “It’s my understanding that they do wand individuals and pat them down, however what we know at this point, several firearms were able to be brought inside the bar,” Cincinnati Police Chief Isaac said in a news conference.
Police said it was unclear whether any victims also fired weapons inside the club and said emergency responders had to step over people to get to the most critically injured, according to Fox 19.
5. The DJs Called for Security During the Shooting on ‘Grown & Sexy Night’
Four off-duty police officers were working security at the club when the shooting occurred, CNN reported.
The club promotes Saturday nights as over 21 events known as “grown and sexy night,” according to CNN.
Williams said “it was a very large crowd” when it started. The police chief said: “This is a very large establishment. They do employ off-duty police officers to employ the parking lot.”