It was dark, the music was pumping and Charlie O’s was packed for a party early Sunday when gunfire erupted and chaos ensued.
“People started trampling over people when they heard the gunshots. It was horrible,” said Latieka Jones, who was injured in the commotion. “I was standing right next to the person who fired the gun. It was real loud, like pow!”
Jones said she couldn’t describe the shooter but knows it was a man. Two of four other victims who were shot also contend they didn’t know who fired at them, and the other two are still being treated at Medical University Hospital.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is still seeking a suspect, but Maj. Eric Watson said evidence and information gathered indicates there was more than one person with a gun during the shooting.
He added that it appears to be a retaliation crime.
The shooting occurred Charlie O’s nightclub at 4224 Dorchester Road — a bar that has been the scene of multiple shootings over the years.
Antwonia Heyward, 20, of North Charleston, was shot in the arm and went to MUSC for treatment. Brandon Lemar Greene, 24, of North Charleston, was shot in the leg. According to a police report, he went home after being shot in the leg and then was treated by EMS and taken to MUSC.
Omar and Jamar Hamilton, both 23 — one lives in Charleston and the other in North Charleston — were each shot in the stomach. Watson said they are in stable condition but were still being treated Monday.
Jones, 34, of Charleston, said she was shot in the foot, but a police report states her injury stemmed from a pair of stiletto heels. She contends, however, that she was a gunshot victim. She was treated at Roper Hospital.
Watson said it is believed that at least one of the individuals shot Sunday was the intended victim.
Deputies responded about 1 a.m. to the club after several people reported the gunfire.
A responding deputy found multiple shell casings in the bar and began interviewing witnesses, according to the incident report.
None of the victims or witnesses reported seeing who did the shooting, according to the Sheriff’s Office report. It does, however, say the suspect is an unknown black male. No specific descriptions were provided.
Watson said video outside the club was caught by a camera at an adjacent business, but it likely would not be released until later this week.
Jones and Heyward said there was no altercation before the gun was fired and that bullets came out of nowhere.
“I really can’t tell you what happened,” Heyward said. “I was just in the party, dancing and having a good time and it just happened.”
Jones said “it happened so fast” but really scared her.
“My life could have been taken away from me,” she said, adding that she was “just trying to have a good time.”
She said she has been to the club several times before Sunday and that weapons are prohibited. She said she wants to know how a gun still ended up inside.
One of the club owners said there were nine total security guards at the club for a party Saturday night and that they used a handheld metal detector to screen those entering.
All of the witnesses who spoke to The Post and Courier, however, said there were no metal detectors used. Heyward and Jones said they were patted down and a security guard looked in their purses, but then allowed them inside. Derrick Johnson, who worked indoor security at the club that night, also said there were no metal detectors used.
Johnson, who said he has worked for the club for four or five years, said he and six other unarmed guards worked Saturday night into Sunday. He said extra, armed security was hired for the outside of the club to “do the searching.”
Johnson said he also didn’t see the shooting or hear an altercation but said there were “two guns fired and two different guys shooting.” He added that “there was tension there” between those involved.
“When that gun went off, everyone went scrambling,” he said of why he thought no one saw the shooter or shooters.
Watson said one of detectives’ biggest obstacles investigating the shooting is convincing witnesses to come forward and report what they saw.
Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.