FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Blood stained the outside of Studio 74 hip hop dance studio and broken glass from a trophy case covered the floor on Saturday morning after a suspected gang-related shooting at an unauthorized party killed two people and injured at least five others.
Fort Worth Police said they hoped to make arrests soon. An unknown number of people exchanged gunfire from the studio's parking lot and across the street around midnight Saturday. The shooting began, witnesses told police, when a man ran toward the door to exit the studio. Officers found one victim dead outside building, and several people were transported to hospitals — one of whom died from his injuries, police said.
The violence broke out about at a place that owner Laura Reyna described as a community "safe haven" from the streets.
"It's a nonprofit organization. We deal in hip hop culture and we cater to our community. It's a safe haven ... we dance, we compete. We try to stay away from events like this that happen," Reyna said.
Studio 74's website says the facility brings "dance programming to underserved communities and the general public to reach audiences and participants of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds."
Fort Worth-based soul artist Leon Bridges has danced there, Reyna said. The walls were covered in graffiti and championship banners won by the studio's in-house dance troupe.
An employee of the facility, Jason Moore, was working at the time and said he used a towel to compress the chest of one of the victims, who later died right outside the front door of the studio.
"He got hit in the lungs, so there was no coming back for him," Moore said.
Moore said several members of the group were carrying guns and that he thought he heard shots fired inside as well. Reyna said the group wasn't supposed to be at the facility but Moore was unaware of that.
Moore rushed people out through a side door of the studio after the bullets started flying. The studio sits on a state highway near a police station, multiple businesses and restaurants and homeless shelters and food pantries.
Associated Press reporter Jeff McMurray contributed from Chicago.