Little Rock city leaders: Mass shooting result of rivalry violence, 'not an act of terror'

City leaders held a press conference Saturday, July 1, 2017, to address the incident that occurred at Power Ultra Lounge. (KATV)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) - Police are investigating a nightclub shooting that left 28 people injured early Saturday morning. Authorities acknowledge the incident may be connected to a string of violence in the city that has occurred lately.

City leaders held a press conference Saturday afternoon to address the incident that occurred at Power Ultra Lounge.

Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner said a dispute ensued in the audience during a performance by rapper Finese 2Tymes. He said multiple shots were fired and they believe multiple people are responsible.

Buckner said two off-duty Little Rock officers were outside in the venue's parking lot until 2 a.m.

"Shortly before they left before their 2 a.m. exit time, some members with the headliner group for the entertainment attempted to enter the venue, one of which was openly carrying a weapon," Buckner said. "Our officers engaged that individual, attempted to stop that individual, but it appears that some of the individuals went to an alternate entry into this location and actually gained access into the venue."

Buckner said all of the shooting victims were African-American, both male and female, and ranged in age from 16 to 35 years old. Twenty-five of the victims received gunshot wounds, and three others were injured in the chaos while trying to escape the venue.

As of Saturday evening, two people were still in critical condition; however, all of the victims are expected to survive.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said he was heartbroken for the city, the injured victims, and their families.

"I want to reassure the public that this was not an act of terrorism, but a tragedy - a local community tragedy," Stodola said. "It does not appear to be a planned shooting. It appears there was a disagreement amongst a small subset of individuals at a concert that turned violent because of the presence of rivalries and weapons."

"We believe this potentially involved gang activity," Buckner acknowledged. Buckner said the club shooting could be connected to a rash of violence that has occurred in the city, including approximately 10 drive-by shootings in the last two weeks.

No arrests have been made in connection to the shooting, but Buckner says there is no reason to believe anyone in the general public is at risk.

Stodola said two things were readily apparent: "We must do more to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. And government can do something to help us with that. We also should be outraged that a promotional video with a gun on the front cover inviting people to a concert suggesting the issues of violence should also be totally unacceptable in our community."

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