Twelve people were hurt early Sunday morning when a gunman opened fire in a Baton Rouge nightclub. The attack was planned, but it spread to a crowd of partygoers.
Around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, shots were fired at the Dior Bar and Lounge, a small building in a busy area near College Drive. At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said that nine people were hurt, but none of their injuries were life-threatening. However, three people were in critical condition.
“We believe that someone was specifically targeted and others were injured in that process,” Paul said.
In other recent mass shootings with a lot of attention in the United States, gunmen shot people at random in places like schools and nightclubs. But the fact that the Dior shooting was targeted shows a trend in Baton Rouge, which is still dealing with a high number of homicides. Many of these killings are caused by people who use guns to settle group disputes or personal grievances.
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Paul said that when the shooting started Saturday night, three city police officers who were stationed in the club’s parking lot moved quickly to secure the scene and help some of the wounded before emergency responders arrived. The police haven’t found a suspect yet.
It wasn’t clear right away if any of the people who were shot were the intended targets of the attack. When asked if investigators know how many people opened fire at the club, a commander in the homicide division of the Baton Rouge Police Department wouldn’t say. Officials also wouldn’t say what kind of gun was used in the shooting, but they did say they knew what kind of gun was used.
Signs of the chaos at the small, black building on Bennington Avenue, which is near hotels and restaurants, were still visible Sunday afternoon. Several pairs of shoes, wristbands, disposable gloves, and party flyers were scattered around the gated entrance to the club. Some flyers that were left behind said that there was a party there on Monday night.
The shooting was “a senseless act of violence that will not go unchecked,” Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said in a statement Sunday
“I personally joined Chief Paul and members of the BRPD team overnight at the hospital,” Broome said. “Law enforcement is actively investigating the case to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
In addition to the criminal investigation into the shooting, the East Baton Rouge Alcoholic Beverage Control office has started looking into how the nightclub works, including how security may have let people bring guns into a busy place. On Sunday, it was hard to get in touch with the club’s owners.
It was the second mass shooting in the U.S. in just a few hours. Late Saturday night, a gunman killed 10 people and hurt 10 more at a Lunar New Year party in Monterey Park, California. The gunman may have tried to go after a second dance hall but failed, authorities say. The large Asian American community in Monterey Park was scared after that shooting, which was the fifth mass killing in the United States this month. It was also the most deadly attack since 21 people were killed in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.
The shooting at the Dior club was at least the sixth mass shooting in the Baton Rouge area in the past three years. During this time, the city and surrounding area have been struggling to stop the rising gun violence. In October, nine people were hurt when shots were fired early in the morning near the campus of Southern University in Baton Rouge. Students said that the fraternity house party where shots were fired overnight was a place of confusion and chaos.
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