MIAMI, FL — A shooting sent terrified patrons scrambling from a Miami nightclub early Sunday and left 15 people wounded, including an 11-year-old child, authorities said.
When Miami police and rescue crews arrived at a club called The Spot around 1 a.m., they said they found chaos among the large throng of adults and teenagers gathered there. Rescuers found wounded people inside and outside the club, some too hurt to flee, Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said.
He told The Associated Press that the first emergency crews arriving on the scene were warned to use caution “because there was still active shooting taking place in the area.”
One person was reported in critical but stable condition and the other victims remaining in the hospital were in good condition, police spokeswoman Frederica Burden said. Some victims had also been released, but Burden said she did not know how many.
Some people were running, “people were screaming, people were saying they were shot,” Carroll said, adding others were yelling for help for friends who had been shot.
One male was found unresponsive and not breathing when emergency responders arrived. Five girls between 11 and 17 years old also suffered gunshot wounds, Carroll said.
Details were sparse in the hours after the shooting. Investigators sought to piece together what happened in what was described as a scene of confusion.
“The investigators are still interviewing witnesses. They’re going from hospital to hospital,” Burden said, noting that the victims had been cooperative.
She said it was not immediately clear how many shooters were involved or what prompted the violence. Police had not made any arrests as of Sunday afternoon, and had not publicly identified any suspects.
“We’re reaching out to the community now to find out if anyone knows anything or saw anything,” Burden said.
Many young people were at the site; at least three of the wounded were transferred to a pediatric unit, Carroll said.
“What was very surprising to the responders was that these were kids that were out at 1 o’clock in the morning in a club and this type of violence took place where a bunch of kids were gathering,” he said. “It’s very disturbing to see that.”
Investigators are interviewing the club owner to determine what type of club The Spot is and why so many underage children were there, said Burden, who noted that she had never heard of the venue despite having worked in the neighborhood for years.
“Was it a private party? Was it open to the public? That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” she said.
Fire Rescue officials also will check on what kind of gatherings the club is licensed for, if any, Carroll said.
A phone number for the club was out of service Sunday.
Shortly after the shootings, police and other emergency officials cordoned off the outside of the club with yellow crime scene tape and emergency vehicles blocked the street in front of the site.