One arrested, 2 sought in AZ club shooting

TEMPE, Arizona Sun Mar 4, 2012 8:13am IST

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TEMPE, Arizona (Reuters) - One man is under arrest and two more are being sought in what police said on Saturday appeared to be gang-related shootings that left 14 people wounded at a Tempe, Arizona, nightclub.

The suspect faces 13 counts of aggravated assault and one count of assisting a criminal street gang, said Tempe police Lieutenant Mike Horn.

Police had initially said 13 were wounded in the shooting late Friday outside the Clubhouse Music Venue, but on Saturday a 14th person arrived at a hospital reporting a gunshot wound to the foot, Horn said.

Two of the wounded had serious but non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

After investigating the shooting through the night and early Saturday morning, police arrested one person around 5:30 a.m., Horn said.

Tempe is in the east of the sprawling Phoenix valley.

The shooting appears to be gang-related, Horn said. If confirmed, it would not be the first time apparent gang violence has erupted there, he said, adding that authorities are still investigating an as-yet-unsolved 2007 murder they believe involved gangs.

Tempe Police spokesman Sergeant Steve Carbajal said officers responded to reports of shots fired at the Clubhouse at 11:30 p.m. Friday.

Witnesses told police that "after the shooting, two black males wearing dark colored clothing fled the scene on foot," Carbajal said. "Those individuals have not been located at this time."

Rapper Nippsy Hustle was scheduled to appear at the club, according to the venue's web site. Local television news reported that gunfire erupted outside the club shortly before Hustle took to the stage.

Cellphone video of the shooting aftermath taken by a concert goer showed a man taking off his t-shirt to use as a tourniquet on a shooting victim.

Early Saturday, uniformed police had the crime scene at a strip mall sealed off behind yellow tape as plainclothes detectives continued their investigation.

A debris field spread across the parking lot indicated panic as a curbside party broke up outside the club. Plastic cups and other trash littered the area by the entrance, with empty tequila and cognac bottles tossed in the parking lot.

The newest attack has prompted police to also investigate whether the club is following safety measures put into place after the killing years ago, Horn said.

Police met with club owners 18 months ago to devise means to keep patrons safe in the wake of gang activity there, Horn said. The shooting investigation will now include whether the club is following its agreements put into place during those meetings, he said.

"We've heard a few things from last night that already cause us some concern," he said. "One example is that we heard some rumors of people that were refusing to be patted down and then were not asked to leave."

(Reporting By Tim Gaynor and Karen Brooks; Editing by Vicki Allen and Philip Barbara)

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