As many as 500 people ran from the Fiesta Event Center late Thursday night after gunfire erupted at a private party being held inside the center.
According to police, shots were fired on the dance floor just before midnight Thursday, leading to hundreds trying to flee the center.
“Everyone was just dancing. Next thing you know, they started shooting,” said patron Dezz Ludgood.
Dallas police said the crowds trampled over each other to escape the violence, leaving behind shoes and other personal items as they fled the center.
“Everybody ran to the door. I fell, that’s how I got my pants dirty. People crawling over me,” Ludgood said.
According to a letter posted by the El Rio Disco/Club Rio management, the incident occurred during a private party that had hired their own security staff and police.
Off-duty officers called for back-up as the private party turned into a dangerous free-for-all. After the initial shooting, police said more shots were fired in the parking lot of the event center.
Ludgood said tension had been mounting and that a lot of people were saying they were going to start shooting. So they were going to shut it down.
Remarkably, the most serious injury was to a security guard who was shot in the backside. By mid-morning Friday, the guard had been treated and released from an area hospital.
Fiesta Event Center, at 704 South Walton Walker Boulevard, is in the same building as El Rio Disco/Club Disco, where 19-year-old Jose Peralta was shot and killed early Tuesday morning. The Fiesta Event Center and El Rio Disco also share a parking lot, but are not the same business.
Dallas police reports show that since last June police have investigated at least 34 crimes at the address 704 S. Walton Walker Boulevard.
Neighbors said the violence has been plaguing the plaza and more needs to be done to protect everyone’s safety.
“There’s been some shootings here. Drug busts over here frequently,” said neighbor Kenneth Russell. "They patrol during the day, not at night. They need security at night."
Club-goers report being robbed, beaten, their cars burglarized and one woman was kidnapped at gunpoint.
Police said they are continuing to search for the gunman, who slipped away in the chaos.