Sixteen people were shot one fatally inside of a Cincinnati nightclub Sunday morning.
Obryan Spikes, 27, died in the shooting. At least 15 others were shot, and one of those people is in “extremely critical condition,” Cincinnati police Chief Eliot Isaac said.
The shooting was reported just after 1 a.m. at Cameo Night Club on Kellogg Avenue in Linwood. Police believe that multiple people fired shots. No arrests have been made.
“The bar was very crowded, approximately a couple hundred people,” Chief Isaac said. “Several local men got into some type of a dispute inside the bar, and it escalated into shots being fired from several individuals.”
“This is a tragedy that has struck other communities, and now it has struck Cincinnati,” Mayor John Cranley said. “I’m confident that while our hearts are broken, that our spirit is not.”
Why the dispute ended with gunfire in a crowded club remains unclear.
“There’s no reason that anyone should ever feel like they could go into a club, shoot a club up, because they’re upset with someone who disrespected them or otherwise hurt them earlier in the day,” Cincinnati Councilwoman Yvette Simpson said. “So I continue to say, yes, guns kill people, but people kill people.”
Some of the victims were taken to area hospitals via ambulance, and others arrived via their own conveyance, police said.
Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate said that several of the victims were badly injured.
“We are in the middle of a very horrific situation that occurred at the nightclub with multiple victims,” Neudigate said.
City officials have asked anyone who knows anything about the shooting inside Cameo nightclub to step forward and share what they know.
“We can’t let the bad guys win,” Cranley said. “We can’t let the evil who pull out a gun in a crowded club and start shooting innocent people to not be punished for their crimes. … You have innocent people shot, just for going out to have a good time. That’s totally unacceptable. It’s totally evil.”
One witness told WLWT News 5 that he heard the club’s DJ call for security about 10 minutes before the shooting.
Surveillance cameras were inside the club at the time of the shooting, police said, and investigators are viewing the tapes.
Neudigate added that Sunday morning’s shooting was one of the largest shooting cases that he has worked in his 27-plus years with the department.
Cameo nightclub has had several issues in the past, authorities said. The club allows admission to anyone over the age of 18 on certain days, and is open until 4 a.m. on Saturdays.
“We are aware of it. It has had some challenges in the past,” Neudigate said.
Police said there were two shootings at the nightclub in 2015: one on New Year’s Day, when someone was shot in the foot, and another in September, when a shooting victim was found in the parking lot.
Isaac said Cameo is a large establishment, and it employs off-duty police officers to patrol the parking lot.
“It is my understanding that they do wand individuals and pat them down,” Isaac said of the club’s security measures. “However, what we know at this point, several firearms were able to be brought inside the bar.”
Dan Hils, president of Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police, said the situation could have been worse if not for the four off-duty police officers keeping an eye on the club’s parking lot.
“People are running away because they have the natural fear, because shots are being fired,” Hils said. “Our people are running in. And that makes you very, very proud.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is helping Cincinnati police with the investigation.
Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the shooting death, he tweeted Sunday.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (513) 352-3040 or on their website. – WLWT