Watch: Authorities Seek Suspect in Alleged Gay Bar Shootings

Screen grab via Twitter video

(EDGE) Authorities are on the hunt for a suspect in a pair of shootings that reportedly took place at a Palm Springs gay bar just before 2 a.m. on March 24.

NBC Palm Springs reports that the shooting followed a fight that erupted inside Toucans Tiki Lounge. Staff intervened and escorted the parties involved outside, but shortly afterward a suspect described as a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s, wearing a black cap and with tattoos on his neck, allegedly fired two shots. One bullet struck a victim outside, and the other struck a patron still inside the bar.

The bar's patrons dove for cover, media sources said.

Local newspaper the Desert Sun reported that some witnesses to the shooting fled the scene before police could get to the scene.

Both victims were struck by gunfire in the lower extremities, reported KESQ Channel 3.

Neighborhood residents expressed astonishment at the violent turn of events. "We've never heard of any rea; issues there," said James Hollenbeck, who lives nearby, according to the KESQ report. "This is a real safe area."

But the owner of a business adjacent to the bar had a different take. "Many fights," said Joey Valenzuela, who co-owns a store for adults called "Not So Innocent," reported NBC. Valenzuela said the fights are "not just at Toucans, but yes at Toucans, plenty of them." He went on to add, "More and more drug use, more alcohol use, people are already drunk or high by the time they get to the bar."

Toucans Tiki Lounge manager Michael Spain put out a statement in which he said, "The safety of our customers is our number one priority," NBC reported.

"The police and our team are still looking into the incident, and have no further information to share at this time," the statement added.

Watch the NBC report below.


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