Columbia Police say one suspect has been killed and five victims wounded in what they describe as a mass casualty incident early Sunday morning, outside Vibez lounge. The five victims are in stable condition at area hospitals.
Police Chief Geoff Jones briefed reporters on Sunday, saying the incident started when two people in an active disturbance began firing at each other at about 3 am. He says officers intervened in the incident in progress.
“Their intervention resulted in the death of a 30-year-old black male, and his next of kin has been notified. I want to reiterate that this happened at Vibez lounge, not inside of Vibez lounge,” the chief says.
Chief Jones tells reporters that CPD officers were in the immediate area when the two suspects started shooting at each other.
“Officers heard shots and observed two people engaging in gunfire. One of the suspects fled from the scene on foot to the north and their whereabouts are unknown at this time. Officers also saw a male running south on North 5th street, and firing his weapon north into a crowd of people. The male rounded the corner, turning west into the alley. Two officers gave chase and fired their service weapons, killing the man,” Chief Jones says.
The chief was joined at Sunday’s media briefing by Mayor Brian Treece, who credits CPD’s presence in the area for saving lives.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol is conducting the investigation.
Chief Jones tells reporters that he is “laser-focused” on Vibez, after this incident. Mayor Treece says there have been five shootings at Vibez, and that there have been multiple shootings up the street. The mayor wants bar owners to have a zero tolerance policy.
Columbia Police have increased foot patrols in the downtown area, and those changes took effect on Friday, before this weekend’s deadly incident. Police Chief Geoff Jones says it’s imperative that residents feel safe downtown. He says CPD officers are increasing foot patrols inside and outside downtown businesses, and clearing traffic more quickly. CPD is also considering an expansion of camera systems.