WATERLOO — One person has died following an early Saturday shooting at an unauthorized downtown club that also injured at least 11 other people.
Waterloo Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald talked about the shooting during an 11 a.m. press conference at City Hall, where he announced the death.
He said the gathering at 501 W. Fourth St. allegedly involved “urban motorcycle clubs” who were using the building as a night club, a purpose for which it is not authorized by the city.
The incident happened at 3:17 a.m. Police, already in the area for a traffic stop, responded “in less than a minute” to the address, Fitzgerald said. “Our officers actually heard gunshots.”
Among the injured, eight had gunshot wounds.
“Unfortunately, as of the time of this press conference, one has succumbed to their injuries,” said Fitzgerald. No other details about the victim were released as police work to inform relatives.
“Pray for the victims, pray for the family members, that folks speak out,” he added.
The shooting occurred at the end of about a 24-hour period that included two other gunshot incidents Friday morning, which police said were not connected to Saturday’s events.
A man shot in the ankle was found outside a liquor store in the area of West Fourth Street and Kimball Avenue shortly after 2 a.m. At 7:30 a.m., a bullet struck the roof of a car occupied by a woman and two children as she drove through an alley behind the 800 block of Riehl Street.
On Saturday, police arrived at the W. Fourth Street location to find a chaotic scene with people hurt and others fleeing the area, and officers began administering aid as paramedics and firefighters pulled up.
“There was a huge crowd in the property, estimated at about 100,” said Fitzgerald, ranging in age from their “20s upwards to 40-45.”
Officers needed to determine who was injured.
“Inside of the location there was some type of confrontation. We do know that gunfire was exchanged inside,” Fitzgerald said. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were shooting, though.
“We also know that one of the exits had to be destroyed in order for people to get out,” he added. Police believe there are more people who were injured but left the scene and haven’t sought medical care.
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Fitzgerald said the public isn’t in danger from the shooter or shooters. “We believe it’s isolated” to this incident, he said.
One person was flown to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City for further treatment, police said. It was unclear if that is the person who died. Other victims were taken to area hospitals and are receiving treatment for a variety of injuries.
Aside from the gunshot wounds, injuries occurred from debris, glass, and people fleeing the scene.
“It was a pretty dynamic scene,” said Battalion Chief Ben Petersen with Waterloo Fire Rescue. “Coming into something like that, you are trying to size up the patients and triage the scene.”
Medics found two gunshot victims inside the club and a third outside and took them to local hospitals. Other less-severely injured victims went by private vehicles and soon inundated the emergency rooms, officials said.
While police haven’t announced any arrests from the shooting, three people were taken into custody after officers responded to a disorderly conduct call outside the emergency room at MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center, where some of the victims were taken.
Sgt. Brooke Carter said a fight started between some of the people who came to the hospital after the victims were transported there, but no major injuries occurred.
Dumarkcus Dewayne Gibbs, 27, of 1319-6 Ravenwood Road, and Sincere Lanae Jones, of 3541 Hammond Ave., were arrested for disorderly conduct and assault on a peace officer. A third person arrested at the scene was 18-year-old Shekaunah Rogers, of 632 W. Park Ave., on several outstanding warrants.
Law enforcement officers from about every agency in the county – Cedar Falls, Evansdale, Hudson, LaPorte and Gilbertville police as well as the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office – headed to the shooting scene to assist Waterloo police.
“Everybody jumped in,” Capt. Joe Leibold said. “Whatever we needed, we just all did together, which is typical of how we work.”
The shooting location had been a bar that closed several years ago and has been operating as a private establishment.