MERIWETHER CO., GA (WTVM) – A shooting at a club in Meriwether Co. early Sunday injured 10 people after witnesses say gun fire was exchanged that stemmed from alleged illegal gambling, according to Meriwether Co. Sheriff Chuck Smith.
The shooting occurred at 1140 Hill Haven Road in Greenville at the Hill Haven Event Center, formerly known as Club CJ.
Smith said as officers arrived at the scene shortly after 2:50 a.m. on Sunday, three people at the scene had been shot.
"As the investigation continued to unfold we learned that there were additional individuals that had left the location by personal vehicles and went to area hospitals for treatment of gunshot wounds. We have identified a total of 10 individuals that were shot in regard to this incident," Smith said.
Of those injured, eight were treated at the West Georgia Medical Center in LaGrange, one was treated at Piedmont Hospital in Newnan and one was treated at Columbus Regional Hospital in Columbus.
The victims were five women and five men, and include various injuries to their arms, legs, feet, shoulder and one was grazed in the head; all of the injuries have been reported at not life-threatening at this time, and all victims have been treated and released. The ages of the victims range from 16 years old to 29 years old.
"We called in the GBI Crime Scene Unit to assist us in processing the crime scene while our investigators responded to area hospitals to interview the persons shot. The initial incident occurred within the confines of the building which was occupied according to information received by a very large crowd," Smith said. "Our investigators determined through witness statements that an altercation occurred involving several subjects over illegal gambling that was taking place in the back portion of the building."
The suspected gambling reportedly caused a fight where weapons were drawn and shots fired. Many of the victims fled the scene before law enforcement arrived.
"Our investigation has revealed that this establishment was also in violation of its permit of operation through building and zoning. At this time our investigators are tracking down leads into the positive identification of the black male shooters involved in this incident." Sheriff Smith stated.
According to the sheriff this is not the first time trouble has happened at this bar and he wants it shut down.
"I have made contact with Meriwether County Government Officials including the Building and Zoning Department related to this event location. On the outset of this investigation it is evident that the location is not operating within the confines of its operational license. The majority of these persons shot are not residents of Meriwether County, GA," Smith said. "No community should be subject to this type of violence and my agency is going to all that we can under the law to prevent this from occurring in this community again. I am requesting that the County Government close this facility from further operation at this time."
If anyone has any information related to this incident contact the Meriwether County Sheriff's Office at (706)-672-4489.