At least five people were shot metres from a nightclub on Labour Day morning as a Black Pride block party wound down in Atlanta, Georgia.
On Monday (6 September), multiple shots were fired outside the Marquette Lounge, where Lil Kim had been billed to perform earlier that night.
Atlanta Police responded to calls of “multiple people shot” at around 6am at the corner of Olive and Proctor streets.
Five people were found suffering from gunshot wounds upon arrival across the street from the club’s parking lot – officers told 11Alive that the injuries are “non-life-threatening”.
None of the victims have been publicly named by police at the time of writing.
“There were people shooting back and then somebody got in a fight, and they maced somebody and we all had to run,” club-goer Joseph Downer told the outlet. “It was very scary.”
— Maura Sirianni 11Alive (@MauraSirianni) September 6, 2021
Victims were rushed to a local hospital via ambulance while others were taken by a private vehicle.
Witnesses told Channel2 that what was a celebratory night of dancing and drinking slipped into a panicked scene after a fight broke outside the lounge. It’s been claimed that a man began to shoot into the air and crowd – but police have not yet corroborated this.
Preliminary investigations have so far found that patrons ran from the venue to dial 911 after the sound of eight gunshots rippled through the air as people were leaving the club.
The suspect fled the scene before police arrived. Investigators with the police department’s aggravated assault unit have said they are working on determining the motive.
Both venue and police officials sought to stress that the incident had no connection to the Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park opposite the Marquette Restaurant & Lounge, which is a popular hangout spot among locals and revellers.
Atlanta shooting leaves councillors scrambling to protect patrons
The sense of fear that has seized the Atlanta community has touched off renewed drives to tighten local security measures.
Atlanta City councilman Michael Bond confirmed to 11Alive that he is to propose a new law Tuesday (7 September) that will require liquor license holders to own adjacent parking lots to ensure customers are even more protected.
“Perhaps they begin towing cars after the business is closed, then the lot becomes private and people are no longer allowed to park there,” he said.
Other measures in the pipeline, Bond added, would include assisting patrons leaving premises, such as offering rideshare service users a way to schedule rides in advance before the nightclub closes.
The Marquette Restaurant & Lounge released a statement Monday evening stressing that the incident did not take place on its premises.
“The Marquette Lounge management team is committed to the safety of our guests and are deeply saddened by the events that occurred outside the facility and across the street from our parking lot on Sunday evening as our establishment closed,” it said on its Facebook page.
“Our premises were fully secured at the time and to our knowledge, no major occurrence happened that would warrant the shooting that took place across the street.
“We are limited in the level of control we have in situations that do not occur on our property. We have reached out to the Atlanta Police Department and are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
“People are known to congregate in the [Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park] because it is close to our establishment but the location where the incident happened is a separate entity.
“Because this is an active investigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”
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