Chaotic scene following deadly Lake of the Ozarks shooting outside Casablanca, eyewitnesses report
Eyewitnesses report what they saw during a shooting Thursday night on the Bagnell Dam Strip.
Editor's Note: The Lake Sun has made an exception due to the gravity and possible scope of the investigation to use comments from witnesses at the scene without publishing their names.
A typical night on the Bagnell Dam Strip turned into mayhem when shots rang out around 8 p.m. Thursday evening leaving one person dead and four others injured.
Diners at local establishments report people running for cover and off-duty officers rushing to the scene to help. Ambulances were sent to two different hospitals.
Two of the injured were taken to Lake Regional Hospital, two were transported to the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics in Columbia. Conditions of those injured have not been released.
Across the street from Casablanca was a 'full on street brawl,' an eyewitness reports
One eyewitness was dining with family on the balcony of Brick House Cajun Cuisine, directly across the street from Casablanca.
“We noticed the crowd of bikers starting to get bigger as we were waiting for our dinner,” he said. “You could tell there were different groups kinda huddled together. Eventually you could hear them start to yell at each other so we got up and were watching. It all started out as a fist fight. One guy grabbed his helmet and was hitting the others … full on street brawl. I turned around to tell someone what was going on when we heard the first shot. When I turned to look, a guy was holding his stomach. The punching continued and then another guy pulled out a gun and we heard all of the shots fired. Then we all ran towards the back of the restaurant. There were two off-duty officers eating dinner with their families that when my uncle yelled ‘active shooter’ they got up and ran outside.”
A U-turn evades shooting on the Strip, an eyewitness says
Emily had just finished dinner at the restaurant with her family and was leaving. “Traffic was crazy so my mom decided to make an U-turn on the Strip. While she was doing that we heard the shots — it sounded like fireworks. She thought they were fireworks. I told her they were gunshots.
She looked back and said ‘people are in the grass.’ I asked if they were laying down. She said ‘yes.’ At which point I said ‘there is a shooter, they are taking cover,’” Emily said.
“At this point three cop cars came flying down towards the Strip. When got home we learned it was an active shooter. If we had not made the U-turn we would have drove right through it.”
Freelance photographer Loren McNabb was on the scene shorty after the shooting. He said based on the scanner traffic he was hearing witnesses were being transported by bus to the Lake Ozark Fire Department for questioning and to give statements, and bars were being asked to close down around 10 p.m.
Friday shooting updates: Some establishments close, no identities released
On Friday some establishments remained closed. Suspects that were taken into custody at the scene were taken to jails in Camden, Miller and Moniteau counties. Although no details of the investigation have been released, it appears the initial fight that lead to the shooting took place between members of two different motorcycle clubs that had gathered on the Strip for the weekly Bike Night held during the summer months.
The identity of the fatality has not been released but he is believed to have been from Camden County. The victim and one of those injured may have been related.
Multiple agencies responded to the incident. At one point, armed officers were doing foot patrols up and down the Strip. It is unclear if all suspects are in custody.
Although the incident was in Lake Ozark, the police department is working with the Missouri Highway Patrol. Neither agency has released anything other than a brief statement that was sent out shortly after the Strip was shut down to traffic.
Casablanca's statement on the shooting
Casablanca issued a statement regarding the shooting on Friday.
"An unfortunate event occurred outside Casablanca Pub & Grill around 7:45 pm on July 15th, during Lake of the Ozarks Bike Night. We want to assure you that this isolated incident is being investigated by local law enforcement and we appreciate your cooperation in providing any information regarding the incident. Our staff is safe and we appreciate their commitment to providing excellent service,food and entertainment to all of our Lake Family & Friends. We will reopen today, July 16th at 11 a.m. with live entertainment Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
We believe strongly in the Bagnell Dam Strip and appreciate our fellow business owners who have worked very hard to revitalize the strip area for friends, family and visitors.
A special thanks to our local law enforcement and city officials.
"We look forward to serving you.”
* This is a developing story. The Lake Sun is working with authorities to find out more information and will continue to post updates.