COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two people are dead and eight others hospitalized with gunshot wounds after a series of shootings around 2 a.m. Sunday morning at a nightclub in Greenville, South Carolina, reports TV station WYFF.
It happened at the Lavish Lounge and investigators with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office told the Greenville News it was “probably gang-related.”
Two suspects are being sought, the sheriff’s office told the newspaper.
Investigators said at the scene that some of the people involved have known gang ties, and the nightclub has a history of disturbance calls, including shootings and fights, according to an interview broadcast by Fox Carolina.
The club had advertised a show by rapper Foogiano, according to a Facebook post that was later removed by the club. Admission was free to anyone who arrived before 10 p.m., according to a Facebook post.
Deputies were driving past the club when they saw “a number of people coming out” at once and assumed there was a fight inside, according to on-scene interviews broadcast by Fox Carolina. The deputies stopped, then heard gunfire and entered the club, where they found multiple wounded patrons, officials said in the interview.
Investigators say there are multiple stories from witnesses as to what started the shooting, according to the on-scene interview. They also noted there are “a lot of rounds that are spent” in the club, according to the interview.
The club hasn’t commented on the shootings, but briefly posted the following note early Sunday on Facebook: “Due to the outcome of tonight’s event, all future events have been postponed until further notice. We will update you as time progresses.”
The lounge removed that post two hours later, as well as a post announcing the concert. However, dozens of people had already responded with comments, including some who questioned why the club was hosting a concert during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investigators said in interviews at the scene that it is believed 200 people were in the club at the time, which may have violated the governor’s executive orders related to the pandemic.
The lounge defended itself in responses to critics on Facebook.
“May 8th the governor announced that bars, clubs and sit down restaurants could legally reopen at half capacity,” Lavish Lounge posted on Facebook.
There was a previous shooting around 4 a.m. Saturday at the nearby Dolce Club, which left a security guard wounded, reported Fox Carolina on Sunday. A suspect, 41-year-old William L. McKinney, was arrested later Saturday in that case, the station reports.
©2020 The State (Columbia, S.C.)