Some ran for their lives while others ducked and hid. Several teens and young adults screamed and tried to get away early Sunday as a barrage of more than 20 bullets ripped through a Tempe parking lot, killing a 19-year-old man.
Deron Gibson of Phoenix was taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital where he later died of a gunshot wound in his chest.
The incident started about 12:50 a.m. in front of the Clubhouse Bar near Broadway Road and McClintock Drive, where a hip-hop group was performing and some audience members got into a dispute, police said.
“After the gunfire in the parking lot, there were just hundreds of people running outside of the business ... a flood of people running in every which direction,” said Tempe spokesman Sgt. Mike Horn.
Police said Gibson had been involved in a disturbance inside the bar and was asked to leave, but shortly after he went outside, a fight broke out and the gunshots began.
A friend drove Gibson from the scene to a convenience store near Rural Road and Lemon Street, where they flagged down an officer on his way to the shooting.
Jake Schroeder, 22, who was at a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store called the scene “insane” and likened it to a riot.
He said he remembered walking up to the area and seeing men take off their shirts as though they were ready to fight. Then, he heard gunshots.
“It was like tap, tap, tap,” Schroeder said.
Jonathan Sakti, 27, was playing poker at the Horse and Hound Sports Grill next door to the Clubhouse Bar when the shots were fired. About 30 people rushed into the bar screaming for everyone to get down, he recalled.
“We were getting ready to walk out, and had it been five minutes earlier, we would’ve been caught in it,” Sakti said. “Everyone was ducked down and I just stood by the wall.”
Employees at both bars declined to comment on the incident, but patrons said security did a good job of locking down the Horse and Hound Sports Grill in the event the gunmen had attempted to enter.
Police said they have no suspects in the shooting, but believe at least two gunmen were responsible. Also, police said they don’t know yet whether the incident involved gang members.
Police said it’s fortunate no one else was injured. The bullets damaged parked cars and struck three apartments south of Broadway Road, across the street from the bars.
Detectives are continuing to investigate the slaying. Police ask anyone with information to call (480) 350-8311.