A nightclub shooting that left seven injured early Saturday and separate shootings that wounded four others on Friday left Baton Rouge area law enforcement calling for the public’s help to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The nightclub shooting on Florida Boulevard capped a string of violent incidents in the greater Baton Rouge area over the past week that includes a triple homicide and the as-yet-unsolved murder of an 18-year-old whose body was dumped in a park.
The 18-year-old whose body was found dumped behind Olympia Stadium at BREC's Perkins Road Park Wednesday died of a gunshot wound to the head, …
According to Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr., first responders received a call around 1:00 a.m. Saturday about a shooting on Florida Boulevard at the Stadium Ultralounge & Bar, a nightclub across the street from the Bon Carré Town Center. The nightclub is operating in what was once a fast food outlet.
Investigators believe several people in the club got into an altercation that escalated quickly. Coppola said shots were fired both inside and outside the club. Seven people were injured in the shooting, though it was unclear as of late Saturday how many people suffered gunshot wounds.
Macy Bell, 21, of Baton Rouge, was at the club when the shooting broke out. She told The Advocate the fighting began when someone smashed a bottle over another person's head. Bell remembers the shooting went on for "about five minutes.” The gunfire continued outside.
"They were shooting everywhere," Bell said. "It was a whole war zone."
Bell said she ran to the parking lot when the gunshots started and dove under a car, where she found three other women screaming and crying. When the gunshots stopped briefly, she said, she darted to her own car and fled.
As she ran, two other people rushed past her, claiming to have been shot. Videos shared on social media that have since been removed showed gunfire, shouting and chaos.
Videos shared on social media that have since been removed showed gunfire, shouting and chaos as shots erupted inside and outside the Stadium …
One video appeared to show a man in black shorts hitting another man over the head with a glass bottle. Then a different man in a blue shirt started shooting in the direction of the original attacker.
Another video showed a closer look at the man brandishing the bottle. Once the shots rang out, bar patrons began yelling, "Go, go, go!" At least four gunshots could be heard in the video.
A third video appeared to show another round of gunfire outside the night club and bar patrons scrambling to flee the area.
EMS spokesman Nick McDonner said emergency personnel transported five patients to the hospital. Two had potentially life-threatening injuries, he said. Others injured may have been driven to the hospital by those at the club, McDonner said.
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The woman listed in state records as a registered agent for the nightclub, Debra Williams, hung up when The Advocate contacted her seeking a comment Saturday afternoon.
A club promoter for the Stadium Ultralounge & Bar also did not respond to a request for comment, but posted on Twitter several hours following the attack to “pray for the victims tonight” and “pray for our city.”
In the wake of three successive shootings inside the city limits — including the nightclub shooting — Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul urged the public to come forward with any information about the incidents.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome echoed the plea for the public's help in a separate statement late Saturday, saying: "It is very important that anyone that knows any information related to these shootings do their part by contacting BRPD."
Broome said city-parish officials will gather next week "to discuss more ways that we can work to put an end to gun violence, the public health crisis that is devastating our community."
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office handled another shooting earlier in the week on Palmer Lane near South Harrells Ferry Road, and one on Friday in the Gardere area, adding to the bloodshed in the greater metropolitan region over the past several days.
On Wednesday afternoon, an 18-year-old man was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head at a BREC Park on Perkins Road. Then, early Thursday morning, a man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, her grandmother and her current boyfriend in a triple homicide on Palmer Lane.
The quick-thinking action by two boys while their mother's ex-boyfriend opened fire inside their home early Thursday likely saved their lives …
Shortly before midnight on Friday, another individual was shot and suffered minor injuries after approaching a man burglarizing his vehicle near a bar in the Tigerland area by LSU. Around the same time, three more men were injured in an armed robbery on Jasper Avenue near Gardere Lane.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux asked that anyone with information about the Jasper Avenue shooting come forward.
“Fortunately, the injuries were minor, but it could’ve been a lot worse,” Gautreaux said.
Paul said in a news release that detectives are currently following up on all leads surrounding the shootings in Baton Rouge and noted community involvement in helping solve crimes “has been and always will be vital to our success."
He added, "Our police officers and our detectives have worked tirelessly this year to reduce crime in Baton Rouge. I am confident the people we serve will do their part in helping us identify the persons responsible for these shootings."