A gunman opened fire at a child’s birthday celebration at a Texas roller skating rink, killing five people, wounding four others and then killing himself as the private party turned to panic and some fled screaming in their skates, police and witnesses said yesterday.
Authorities said the gunman’s rampage was linked to an apparent domestic dispute and said no young children or rink employees were killed during the shooting that erupted on Saturday night at Forum Roller World in Grand Prairie, about 20 miles west of Dallas. Some people at nearby businesses said they watched as adults and children spilled from the rink in horror.
“They just looked terrified,” Cody Poston, a witness, told WFAA-TV, outside the rink that was festooned with birthday decorations. “There’s several people crying. The kids were just kind of oblivious.”
Authorities did not immediately release the victims’ names or ages or say how the gunman may have been related to those who died.
Police said the gunman began arguing with a woman in Forum Roller World’s front area where the party was being held, although the rink was not open to the public because the family had rented it for several hours for the private party.
Grand Prairie police spokesman John Brimmer said investigators were still trying to determine how many people were inside the building when the shots rang out. Police were called about reports of shots fired and some reports said officers entered with guns drawn, encountering the dead and wounded.
Wounded survivors were taken to hospitals.
Police Chief Steve Dye told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram a domestic disturbance apparently erupted between a husband and wife. The ages of those shot were not released.
“We are still working on identifying the victims, and we are still working on notifying the families,” Mr Dye said. “Certainly our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”
Aaron Feldt told WFAA-TV he was standing across the street at a bowling alley when he heard the shots.
“I saw family coming across the street,” he said, adding he could see the “panic in their eyes”.
Nine people were wounded at a shooting at a birthday party in a central Florida house after a fight erupted.
The Orange County sheriff’s office said the fight broke out late on Saturday night among teenagers attending the party near Apopka and one person pulled out a handgun and fired.
Sheriff’s Captain Denise Demps-Rollins said police later stopped a car at a petrol station carrying several teenagers and a handgun was recovered.