Nightclub shooting leaves 4 wounded Charlie O’s the scene of previous violence

A sign outside Charlie O’s now reads “Uniques.” The business was closed Sunday afternoon.

Four people were wounded early Sunday during a shooting at a Charleston County nightclub that has been the scene of multiple shootings over the past few years.

Deputies responded to reports of a shooting at Charlie O’s Night Club at 4224 Dorchester Road about 1 a.m., Charleston County Sheriff’s Maj. Eric Watson said.

Head of security Michael Herman said Sunday that he provided outside security for the club, but that guards were not inside.

“Shots were fired on the inside,” he said. “[Security] tried to control the situation, but it was too late.”

Herman declined to comment any further, stating that the shooting was an active investigation and he “did not want to speak out of turn.”

Witnesses told deputies some type of fight started inside the club and several people were shot inside. Watson said witnesses reported that shots were also fired outside of the club.

Four people were taken to Medical University Hospital, some with non-life threatening injuries and others with serious injuries, Watson said. He said some of the victims arrived via personal vehicle.

Detectives have not established a motive for the shooting, and the wounded were unable to give them an additional description of the shooter or shooters.

Watson said it was too early to tell if the shooting was gang-related.

On Sunday afternoon, the club was closed. An employee at the adjoining business, Marvin’s Seafood, said by the time he arrived for work at 8 a.m., there was no sign of police.

One of the owners of the business, Tommy Middleton, said there was a party at the club Saturday night and that he was at home asleep when the shooting took place.

Middleton spoke openly Sunday in a phone interview about the club’s security practices, but tried later to retract his statements, indicating that his attorney did not want him to speak to the media.

He said there were nine security guards at Charlie O’s for the party Saturday night and that they used a handheld metal detector.

“I’m sorry it happened, I’m really sorry,” he said. “We always hire security. There’s no other club around here trying to prevent problems like we do.”

That’s likely because this is not the first shooting at the club. There was a fatal shooting in February of 2013, two people were shot in December of 2013, and another shooting in 2011.

Middleton, however, claimed the fatal shooting occurred across the street, not at the club. Bullet holes could be seen in the building across the street Sunday.

Other security measures taken at the club on a regular basis, Middleton said, include prohibiting handbags and raising the age limit for who can enter the business.

“(We’re) trying to prevent trouble, sometimes it just happens,” he said.

The club is located in a pocket of unincorporated Charleston County, surrounded by North Charleston city limits.

Anyone with information about Saturday’s shooting is asked to contact Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch Center at 843-743-7200 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.

The Post and Courier’s Andy Paras contributed to this report.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.