April 6, 2017 / 5:32 PM / 5 months ago

Suspect charged with second murder in Ohio nightclub shooting

The parking lot of Cameo Nightlife club remains empty after police removed barrier tape from the scene of a mass shooting in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Caleb Hughes/Files

(Reuters) - A grand jury in Ohio indicted a man suspected of opening fire in a crowded Cincinnati nightclub on a second murder charge Thursday after another suspect died this week.

The charge was one of 38 brought against Cornell Beckley, 27, who faces 230 years in prison if convicted on all charges in the shooting, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters told a news conference in Cincinnati.

“We identified him (Beckley) through multiple sources as the initial shooter,” Deters said.

A second suspect, Deondre Davis, 29, who was charged with murder while critically injured, died Tuesday morning at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, according to police.

Bryan Spikes, 27, died shortly after the March 26 shooting at the Cameo Nightlife club in which 16 other people were injured.

Beckley pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing in Cincinnati Municipal Court last week on the initial charge and is being held on a $1.7 million bond.

Davis and Beckley would have faced identical indictments had Davis lived, Deters said. A third gun was found in the club and police are searching for a third shooter.

The gunfire, which sent hundreds of patrons fleeing and ducking for cover, erupted from a dispute inside the club between two groups from different neighborhoods, Deters said.

Beckley climbed onto the club’s stage and began shooting at around 1:30 a.m., prosecutors said. Davis started shooting after Beckley opened fire.

The club had persistent problems with violence, according to police. The club’s owner surrendered his liquor license and the club was closed, police said on Thursday.

Unlike last year’s Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people died, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, there were no indications the Cincinnati shooting was “terrorism-related,” according to authorities.

“People say this was a mass shooting. It was a shoot-out,” Deters said.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley called the incident the worst mass shooting in the city’s history.

One victim remains in critical condition, Deters said.

Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by James Dalgleish

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