9 shot outside Feltonville nightclub; 2 men sought

Posted: May 23, 2011

THE ABANDONED patent-leather party heels and cheap, broken earrings in front the Felton Supper Club yesterday looked like the remnants of a bad hangover, but it was the blood - dark and caked on the sidewalk - that told the real story.

Nine people, including five women and four men ages 19 to 35, some of whom were from Maryland and Brooklyn, were shot by two unknown men who fired 18 rounds outside the club, police said. It happened as the nightspot, on Rising Sun Avenue near Louden Street, in the Feltonville section of the city, let out at 2:45 a.m. yesterday.

All but one of the victims were listed in stable condition at area hospitals yesterday. A 23-year-old man remained in critical condition at Temple University Hospital after being shot five times in the back and legs, police said.

An angry Mayor Nutter held a news conference outside the club yesterday afternoon to announce a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the two suspects.

"This could have been a mass murder out here," he said.

Most of Nutter's ire, however, was focused on the Felton's owners, not the gunmen. He claimed that the city has cited, fined and fought the club's owners for years, ultimately losing a recent court decision to keep it closed. Officials said that the club just reopened in recent weeks.

"We will do everything we can to ensure they don't open," Nutter said. "We're not putting up with this crap anymore."

Bryan Camacho, 25, who lives across the street from the club, estimated that there were nearly 500 people in the immediate area as the club let out at about 2:40 a.m.

"You couldn't even move around," he said. "All of a sudden, I heard a whole bunch of gunshots and people saying 'Get on the ground!' "

Police said that two men, both between 18 and 20 years old, walked into the intersection of Rising Sun Avenue and Louden Street and started shooting for no known reason. Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross said that police believe that the gunmen were shooting at someone in the crowd, not at each other.

"It was so crowded out here, they couldn't have missed if they tried," said one 28-year-old resident, who asked to be identified only as Moses. "Everywhere they pointed a gun, there was somebody."

Neighbors said that one of the men then walked to a car down the block and drove away, and the shooting victims - at least those who could still run - scattered while holding on to their wounds.

The club has been closed on and off over the years, neighbors said, but recently it's been packed every Saturday.

"That's our reality-TV, watching those people come out of there," said one resident, who identified himself as Vibe Cartel, 25. "Usually people come out hugging and laughing and stuff, but it's just this one time, things went wrong."

But neighbor Julio Pedrogo disagreed.

"It's like the OK Corral out there," he said. "If it truly gets closed, we'll all be happy."

Residents pointed to at least two surveillance cameras that could have captured the shooters, but police didn't immediately comment on what the cameras did or did not record.

Investigators from the East Detectives Division said that two men were taken into custody at the scene, but they have not been identified as suspects and no charges were expected to be filed last night.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the department's tip line at 215-686-8477.

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