Police identify victims in fatal nightclub scuffle
One person is dead of a gunshot wound and two other people were stabbed during a disturbance on the Indianapolis west side early Friday morning.
The shooting happened in the parking lot of the former Chispas Discotheque at 3890 Lafayette Road, across the street from Lafayette Square Mall, at around 2:55 a.m.
The two men stabbed were allegedly stabbed by the shooting victim, according to IMPD investigators.
Witnesses say that a fight started inside the newly-opened Black Diamond club and spilled into the parking lot.
According to police, 33-year-old Andrew Sobers was trying to get into the club, but was denied entry. He got angry and picked a fight with three men in the parking lot.
During the scuffle, police say he stabbed 23-year-old Joseph Palmer and 19-year-old Gilbert Hutchinson. That's when police say another man came to the aid of his friends, pulled out a gun and shot and killed Sobers. Police were responding to the initial calls about the fight and were just arriving on the scene when they heard the shots fired.
"He lashed out at the wrong group of individuals," said IMPD Officer Chris Wilburn. No gang activity is suspected.
Club patrons describe the chaotic scene.
"We heard shots and ran outside to see what happened. Police told us to get back inside," said Tiara Brewer, club patron.
"We were inside and police told us to stay inside. They had mace and said if you try to leave, 'We're gonna mace ya,'" said JD Harris, club patron.
Police say the shooting suspect surrendered at the scene and was taken into custody. The stabbing victims were taken to Wishard Hospital with what police describe as superficial non-life threatening injuries.
Patrons of the club, still bearing a permanent Chispas sign on its facade, along with a temporary sign displaying the name Black Diamond, were initially kept inside while police secured the scene. Police began allowing them to leave around 3:30 a.m.
Neighboring businesses are concerned. Along 38th Street, businesses like Saigon Restaurant have worked hard to draw new customers. Tina Le says they've made huge strides the last few years branding the area as in international marketplace.
"They get a piece of everything. They can travel the world without going out of Indiana," she said.
Thursday night's violence was "just devastating. It makes us look bad and we're not like that. It's not what this area's about."
On Friday, there was confusion over who was actually running the place when the violence broke out. While a banner over the door said Black Diamond Night Club, many other signs said El Chispas.
The Ten Point Coalition's Rev. Charles Harrison not happy to hear El Chispas was in fact, sub-leasing the place Thursday night to DJ Pimp Cee.
"It's been an issue because we've had this kind of problem in the past with other establishments on the street where a promoter comes in and rents out a space and when that happens we end up with violence," he said.
According to police, DJ Pimp Cee used social media to promote the event, going after patrons of Tremors, which subleased this bar a couple nights each week until it was forced to close Saturday. DJ Pimp Cee tells Eyewitness News he wasn't the promoter of the event, he is just a DJ and that another DJ was working at the party.
"These promoters are not concerned about anyone but themselves. They're trying to make money," said Rev. Harrison.
Harrison says that needs to change. So does Tina Le, who worries that scenes like this make people afraid to come to the area..
"It gives them more of a reason to but they shouldn't be afraid," she said.
The police tape is down and detectives are gone from the scene, but the investigation continues.