A Memphis rapper was taken into custody early Sunday in Alabama along with a second suspect in connection with the shooting at an Arkansas nightclub that left 28 people injured, the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed to Fox News.
Ricky Hampton, aka Finese2Tymes, along with another suspect was arrested outside of Side Effects Club in Birmingham, Alabama, FOX 6 News reported.
(Jefferson County Jail)
U.S. Marshals, along with the ATF and FBI apprehended Hampton and the other male, according to Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Cliff LaBarge. Both are currently being held at the Jefferson County jail.
Twenty-five people between the ages of 16 and 35 suffered gunshot wounds at the Power Ultra Lounge in downtown Little Rock at Power Ultra Lounge early Saturday, officials said.
Three others were hurt, perhaps while fleeing, Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner said. Two people were in critical condition Saturday afternoon.
Courtney Swanigan, 23, told The Associated Press that when the gunfire rang out, “I just closed my eyes, got down on the ground and put my hands on my head.”
Frankie Bledsaw told FOX 16 he drove from Stoddard, Arkansas, to Little Rock with his brother and a few friends for the concert.
He said he didn’t know what sparked the dispute, but shortly after the concert began shots rang out.
“Everything was good, that’s why I don’t understand,” he said. “I mean, crowd was in a good mood. Just senseless really. Come out to have a good time and this what happens.”
Bledsaw said his first instinct was to run but as the gunfire continued and the club erupted into chaos, he hit the ground.
“Took about 10 minutes to get up out of there,” he said, later adding that it was a “blessing” that no one died. He was able to walk away with a minor bruises and scratches.
City officials said they would move Monday to shut down the club under a “criminal abatement” program. State regulators suspended the club’s liquor license earlier Saturday.
On Saturday night, a representative for the landlord’s office posted an eviction notice on a door to the club. The notice stated that the club must move out of the property within three days “due to your failure to maintain the premises in a safe condition.”
Mayor Mark Stodola said the city must “keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people” and suggested that people refuse to patronize clubs that seem to promote violence. Material advertising the concert by Tennessee rapper Finese 2Tymes showed a man pointing a gun at a camera.
“A promotional video with a gun on the front cover inviting people to a concert … should also be totally unacceptable in our community,” the mayor said.
The shooting capped a violent week in Arkansas’ largest city. Police had responded to a dozen drive-by shootings over the previous nine days.
“I’m sick of all the killing and I’m tired of all the shooting. The kids getting hurt,” said Raida Bunche, who was waiting outside the club after hearing from a friend that her son had been inside. She found out later that he had run from the club when the shooting started and was not hurt.
The shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. about 1 mile east of the state Capitol building. First-responders are stationed through the central part of the city and hospitals are a quick ride away.
“We had professional people responding to that incident and they did what they were trained to do, and I know they probably had something to do with the fact we didn’t have any fatalities,” Buckner said. He also credited divine intervention.
About 100 people gathered at Second Baptist Church on Saturday night for a candlelight vigil, seeking healing for those injured, and the community. Stodola sat in the front row.
“God bless our community. … God bless our first responders,” Robert Holt, president of Let Our Violence End and pastor at Healing Waters Outreach Center, said at the vigil.
Top state officials offered to help the city respond to an increasing number of incidents.
“Little Rock’s crime problem appears to be intensifying,” Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “Every few days it seems a high-profile shooting dominates the news, culminating with (Saturday) morning’s event. I have spoken this morning with Mayor (Mark) Stodola and I have offered both my heart felt concern over this senseless violent tragedy and state assets as needed to address the continued threat of violence in our community.”
A Facebook video posted from inside the club included audio of at least 24 rounds fired in about 11 seconds. Darryl Rankin, who posted the video, said a friend of his who attended the concert with him had a bullet “stuck in his spine.” Buckner said police had not yet spoken with the rapper, who he said has outstanding warrants in the state.
Calls to a number listed for Finese 2Tymes’ booking agent weren’t returned Saturday, but a message was posted on the artist’s Facebook page offering thoughts and prayers for those injured: “THE VIOLENCE IS NOT FOR THE CLUB PEOPLE. WE ALL COME WITH 1 MOTIVE AT THE END OF THE DAY, AND THATS TO HAVE FUN.”
Before Stodola announced that the city would shutter the club, officials at the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control office suspended the club’s liquor license and set a July 10 hearing on three potential charges: disorderly conduct, allowing possession of weapons on the premises and “failure to be a good neighbor.”
The club’s license has been suspended 11 times for failing to pay taxes, and it has been cited seven times for 14 various violations including unknowingly furnishing alcohol to minors and allowing alcohol to leave the premises since 2012, ABC Director of Enforcement Boyce Hamlet said.
Arkansas lawmakers this year passed a law allowing concealed handguns in bars, with permission of the businesses’ owners and if the gun permit holder completes additional training. The law takes effect Sept. 1, but the training likely won’t be available until next year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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