It was nearly 2 a.m. when gunshots were fired outside of a bar parking lot in Richland Sunday morning.
“We don’t even know if that person was in here or not,” said Joleen Alamia, general manager at the Towne Crier Restaurant & Lounge. “It all happened after we closed.”
Two people reportedly got into a fight outside of the bar around 1:55 a.m. on Sunday at 1319 George Washington Way in the Uptown Shopping Center, according to the Richland police.
Several men got into a fight with another group of people. One person pulled out a 9mm handgun and fired two shots, said Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb.
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The suspect and victims fled the scene.
No one was hurt. Investigators later found two shell casings and a bullet lodged in a parked car.
Violent crimes are not common at the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland. Most business owners have dealt with minor cases of shoplifting or other property crimes.
“Generally, we feel pretty secure here,” said Gus Sako, owner of The Octopus’ Garden and Luna Fish at the shopping center. “It doesn’t matter where you are. Eventually something’s going to happen.”
At the Town Crier, Alamia is improving security by having last call at around 1:30 a.m. and asking customers to leave the building by 1:40 a.m., she said.
The bar is adding a new dress codes to discourage gang-related clothing. Metal detectors are going to be used and bags searched, Alamia said.
“We want our customers to feel safe,” she said. “I think human life is a very valuable thing and (the shooting) concerns me.”
Generally, we feel pretty secure here.
Gus Sako, owner, The Octopus’ Garden and Luna Fish in Richland
Josh Johnson, who works at Some Bagels & Gelato, said this never happens in Richland.
“It’s pretty ridiculous,” Johnson said. “Why should we have to worry about that?”
Police claim there is a possibility the shooting was gang-related, but haven’t found evidence of the two groups knowing each other before the fight.
“We don’t usually run into gang members shooting at other gang members in Richland,” Cobb said.
The police captain said they won’t know more until they arrest someone. Shop owners have reported no other problems related to violent crimes or vandalism that could be tied to such gangs.
There were no security cameras in the area, but one man recorded a video during the incident.
Two gunshots went off, but it’s not clear who fired them.
“It just showed a bunch of people running in the parking lot,” Cobb said. “Without further investigation, we don’t know.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Richland police at 509-628-0333.