American authorities said that one person was killed and at least 14 others were wounded during a shooting early Sunday inside a crowded bar in St. Paul, Minnesota.
When police arrived at the bar, identified as Seventh Street Truck Park, shortly after 12:15 am, they said they encountered a chaotic scene, with the victims scattered on the sidewalk, in the street and inside.
“They walked into a hellish situation,” Steve Linders, a spokesperson for the St. Paul Police Department, said during a briefing at the scene later Sunday morning.
Investigators said they were searching for several gunmen and had not yet determined a motive for the shooting, which claimed the life of a woman in her 20s. Police did not release the woman’s name.
“One minute she’s having a good time,” Linders said. “The next minute, she’s lying in her friends’ arms who are trying to save her life, and she didn’t make it. I can’t think of anything worse.”
Fourteen people were hospitalised with gunshot wounds, said Linders, who described their injuries as not life-threatening. Police were trying to determine if there were other victims who may have left the scene and sought treatment on their own, he said.
Linders said that several “good Samaritans” helped tend to the victims until emergency responders could treat them.
“We had people in the city of St. Paul out on a Saturday night having a good time, and we had other people who decided to pull guns with reckless disregard to human life and pull the trigger over and over and over and over again, and it ended in tragedy,” he said.
The Seventh Street Truck Park did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Sunday morning. No one answered the phone at the bar, which has a large food hall with food trucks inside.
Later Sunday morning, Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul condemned the violence.
“Our community is devastated by the shocking scenes from last night,” Carter said on Twitter. “As our Saint Paul officers work to bring those responsible for these senseless acts into custody, our work to build more proactive and comprehensive public safety strategies is more urgent than ever. We will never accept violence in our community.”
The bar shooting Sunday morning brought the total number of homicides for the year to 32, according to police. Last year, there were 34 homicides, which The Pioneer Press reported tied a record set in 1992.
“The epidemic of gun violence plaguing the Twin Cities has hit us in St. Paul with a mass shooting event that can only be described as a horror,” McCollum said. “I know our St. Paul community will come together to support the victims and their families during this time of pain and grief.”