NEW YORK: Shots rang out inside a concert venue in New York City where hip-hop artist T.I. was getting ready to perform, leaving one person dead, three others wounded and concertgoers scrambling for the nearest exits, police said.
One of the victims was in critical but stable condition on Thursday. No arrests have been made, and a motive for the shooting is unclear.
The shooting happened around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday in a third-floor green room area at Irving Plaza, near Manhattan’s Union Square. It was not immediately known who had access to that area.
Witnesses described a frantic, frightening scene.
Live Hoffman, 19, was in the balcony VIP area to the left of the stage when the shooting happened. She said there had been some kind of argument between two groups of people before the shooting. A woman she had been talking to was one of the victims.
“The girl next to me was shot point blank, and men picked her up and carried her out,” Hoffman told The Associated Press, still shaken by the events that unfolded right in front of her. “For two to three minutes we still heard firing, still heard shots, we were clutching each other making sure no one was getting hit.”
Video shot inside the venue showed concertgoers rushing to the sides trying to leave the area as a group of people tended to a person on the floor.
“I ran out, just trying to look for my friends, just trying to see if everyone was OK. Everyone was hysterical,” Hoffman said.
Manhattan Chief of Detectives William Aubry said a 33-year-old man was shot in the stomach and died at a hospital. A 34-year-old man was in critical but stable condition with a chest wound. A 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man with leg wounds were expected to survive.
Elijah Rodriguez was in the VIP area by the stage and said that T.I. was supposed to go on at 9 or 9:30 p.m., but “he never showed up.”
Aubry said T.I. was in the building, but performers Maino and Uncle Murda were on stage at the time of the shooting.
“It was scary to deal with. When I got outside, like literally across the street, there were a few girls having, like, panic attacks. One girl thought she saw someone get shot in front of her,” Rodriguez said.
Police said metal detectors were set up at Irving Plaza, a 1,025-person ballroom-style music venue.
Witnesses said security getting into the concert was lax. Police say there was security in place, but how it was carried out is part of the investigation.
Irving Plaza is referring questions about the incident to police.
Representatives for T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., also were referring all questions to police.
Associated Press writers Kiley Armstrong and Thomas McElroy in New York contributed to this report.