Police investigating a mass shooting inside a crowded nightclub in Cincinnati, Ohio, appeared no closer to identifying suspects hours after the assault early Sunday, and they asked for witnesses to come forward.
One person was killed and 15 others were injured in the shooting that occurred around 2:20 a.m. ET, which police say was not terrorism-related. Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac, speaking at a news conference held at 11 a.m. ET, identified the person who died as 27-year-old Obryan Spikes.
Isaac addressed conflicting reports on the number of suspects, saying, "We believe that there was more than one shooter."
He also said the initial investigation indicates that several Cincinnati-area males were in a dispute, leading to the gunfire.
He said a "mass group of people" then left the scene and that first responders, including police officers hired as parking lot security outside the Cameo Nightlife club, faced "an unbelievable, chaotic situation."
"This is going to be a long process for us to solve this crime — crimes plural — and to heal as a community," Mayor John Cranley said. "We need people to have courage to come forward to identify the shooter or shooters in this case."
Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate earlier said in a tweet that the motive was still unclear.
Neudigate also tweeted that there was only one reported shooter but that police were investigating whether others were involved. Police had earlier said "at least a couple of shooters" were involved.
Capt. Kim Williams said there was "just a lot of chaos, obviously, when shots were fired."
"Saturday night, it is a very young crowd. We have had incidents here in the past, but this is by far the worst," she said.
Club had security
Several officers were working security outside the club; some performed first aid and tried to revive the person who died, police said. The major said none of the officers were wearing body cameras.
Investigators were checking to see if any surveillance cameras were working, Williams said.
A single body was removed by the coroner shortly after 6 a.m. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also at the scene.
Isaac said two of the wounded were in critical condition, one "extremely critical."
The area is mostly industrial but also home to several nightclubs with a smattering of homes. A regional airport is nearby along the Ohio River. The area is fairly desolate at night, with the exception of the nightlife scene and 24-hour gas stations. The road where the club sits was easily cordoned off by a single police cruiser and officer at either end.
First responders had problems reaching the shooting victims because the parking lots were full, Sgt. Eric Franz told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on Twitter that he was "saddened to learn about last night's shooting" and that he was offering the state's assistance.
Cameo's Facebook profile says it caters to college students on Friday nights, when anyone over 18 is allowed in, while Saturdays are "grown and sexy night" for ages 21 and older.