By Kristine Phillips
The Cameo nightclub in Cincinnati was filled with at least a couple hundred patrons when a rapid succession of gunfire sparked chaos inside.
A young man was killed, authorities said. Fifteen others were wounded, one of whom remains in extremely critical condition.
Chief Eliot Isaac of the Cincinnati Police Department said an argument among several men escalated into a shooting about 1:30 a.m. Sunday inside the club, located next to a smattering of bars and auto-parts stores a few miles outside downtown Cincinnati.
What the fight was about or who was involved remains unknown. Police also do not know who the shooters are or whether they were shot, Isaac told reporters. No arrests have been made.
Police ruled out the possibility of a terrorist attack.
“To the victims, what difference does it make? They’ve been terrorized with gun violence. Innocent victims,” Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley told reporters during a news conference Sunday. “It’s important for everyone to understand that people were just having a good time and ended up getting shot. It’s totally unacceptable.”
“This is going to be a long process for us to solve this crime - crimes, plural - and heal as a community,” Cranley added.
Police initially said 15 people were shot, but that number was later changed to 16. Earlier reports also indicated that only one gunman was involved, but Isaac confirmed later Sunday that the gunfire came from multiple shooters.
Lt. Paul Neudigate, the assistant police chief, told NBC affiliate WLWT that many of the witnesses tried to get out of the club immediately after shots were fired, but he said investigators are interviewing those they’ve been able to identify.
Many of the victims are in stable condition at hospitals or have been treated and released. Two are in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
One remains in “extremely critical condition,” Isaac said.
Neudigate told WLWT that it’s one of the worst shootings he has seen in his nearly 30 years with the police department.
Other incidents have been reported at the club in the past, but Sunday morning’s shooting “is the worst by far,” Capt. Kimberly Williams told WXIX.
Williams also said that the club had a “very young crowd” at the time of the shooting.
Cameo allows admission to anyone older than 18 on Friday nights, which cater to college students, according to the club’s Facebook page. Saturday nights are promoted as “grown and sexy” nights that cater to those 21 and older.
“I don’t want to make speculations on what happened, but just keep an eye on your young people,” Williams told reporters at a news conference, according to ABC News. “I don’t know if this had to do with an argument or neighborhood issues or what. Just, I’m asking parents … know what your young people are doing.”
Authorities said four police officers were already at the club providing security when shots were fired. They tried to revive one of the victims, but that person died, the Associated Press reported. Police have identified him as O’Bryan Spikes, 27.
Isaac said officers typically provide security outside establishments that serve liquor.
Jeff Ruby, owner of several restaurants in Cincinnati, Louisville and Nashville, is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest, the restaurateur announced in a tweet Sunday morning.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he has instructed administration officials to offer assistance to investigators.