As Cincinnati police delved further into their investigation of a nightclub shooting melee that left one person dead and 16 injured, city officials have urged more witnesses to come forward and offered reassurances amid questions about safety in public gathering spots.
Police Chief Eliot Isaac declined to say whether police have identified possible suspects in the Sunday gun violence inside the Cameo club, a popular hip-hop music spot near the Ohio river east of downtown Cincinnati. But Isaac said police weren’t actively looking for anyone as yet.
“We’re gathering information … we’re making some progress,” Isaac said after giving city council members an update on the investigation.
Investigators believe multiple shooters were involved; police estimate more than 20 shots were fired, sending club patrons diving to the floor or scrambling away from a chaotic and terrifying scene. The FBI and federal firearms agents are assisting Cincinnati police.
Isaac said a number of people have contacted police with information, including a person who came forward Sunday evening to report having been shot, raising the total number injured to 16 besides the 27-year-old man who was slain. Two of the 16 injured were in critical condition yesterday. Three other people remained hospitalized in stable condition.
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Medic units transporting while others are still coming in to pickup additional victims pic.twitter.com/FU7GgyvnDN
— Cincinnati News (@CinciNews) March 26, 2017
The initial investigation indicated a dispute in the bar escalated into a gun fight around 1:30 am, the chief said.
No club security footage of the shooting has emerged, he said. Isaac said some of the wounded could be key witnesses, and city officials urged any reluctant potential witnesses to help, saying they would be protected.
Crime witnesses afraid to testify for fear of retribution have been a problem in some past Cincinnati cases. Isaac said the nightclub had metal detectors, or wands, but wasn’t required to by law. Four police officers were working off-duty security details in the club parking lot, but he emphasised the club provides its own security inside.
Late yesterday night, Cameo club operator Julian “Jay” Rodgers released a statement saying the club would close its doors for good on Friday.
“Earlier this morning, Cameo received a notice to vacate the premises from the landlord and owner of the property,” Rodgers said.