GREENVILLE, S.C. – Two people are dead and eight are injured after a shooting at a nightclub in the early hours of July 5, according to Lt. Jimmy Bolt of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooting occurred around 2 a.m. at Lavish Lounge, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Investigators are looking for two suspects but do not have descriptions to release.
At an early morning press conference, Sheriff Hobart Lewis said the incident was “probably gang related.”
“It’s sad to see on any day,” he said.
A sheriff’s deputy drove by the club at 1701 White Horse Road and heard gunfire when he called for back-up, Bolt said. Once inside, law enforcement found multiple victims and learned of others being transported to the hospital in personal vehicles.
The eight injured victims’ conditions range from minor to critical, Bolt said. All victims are being treated at Greenville Memorial Hospital, Lewis said. Their names have not been released.
Early Saturday morning, a shooting at Dolce Club — which is next door to Lavish Lounge — left one security guard injured, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Bolt said investigators are interviewing witnesses and will look for any connection to the July 4 incident.
“We will certainly look at that. But at this point… I don’t know of any connections between the two,” he told The Greenville News.
Other shootings happened early July 4 in the Gantt neighborhood of southern Greenville and at Haywood Mall.
In the press conference, Lewis said a “very, very large crowd” was gathered for a concert when the violence broke out. Lewis said he did not know if the club, which appeared to have a crowd gathered larger than what’s permitted under emergency orders due to the pandemic, had an exemption to gather and serve alcohol.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance footage, Lewis said.
The nightclub is about 5 miles southwest of downtown Greenville, in South Carolina’s Upstate region.
Coronavirus cases in South Carolina have risen swiftly and the state’s rate of positive tests is three times the recommended level. In late June, Greenville – which has experienced some of the state’s highest COVID-19 rates – became the first city to mandate face coverings in South Carolina, where Gov. Henry McMaster has refused to implement a statewide mask requirement.
McMaster reminded South Carolinians last week that he hadn’t lifted restrictions on large crowds, and that those operating nightclubs illegally or holding concerts against his orders don’t have to be caught in the act to face criminal charges, but instead could be charged weeks later if COVID-19 cases are traced back.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.