5 shot at Safe and Sound Senior Citizen Social Club in Gary

February 13, 2014 (GARY, Ind.)

Five people, including the suspected gunman, were shot at the Safe and Sound Social Club in Gary, Indiana. Officers responded to the members-only club Wednesday around 11:30 p.m. in the 2200 block of Broadway in Gary.

Police say the suspected gunman is a 23-year-old from Chicago. They believe his motive was to rob people at the senior citizens club.

The shooting victims are all men between the ages of 43-76. Witnesses told police that a gunman entered the club and ordered people to drop to the ground. Shots were fired and police say at one point, one of the patrons inside shot the gunman.

A former member of the club, Pleas Yates, says it's a place for older people to get together but stopped visiting the club because young people began causing trouble inside the venue.

''In the first place, it should be for members only and if you bring a person in, you're responsible for his conduct, but they changed the rules though and let anybody in, that's where the problem comes in,'' Yates said.

In 2011, Safe and Sound Senior Citizen Social Club was raided twice for serving liquor without a license. The owner of the club, in one of the raids, was also arrested and charged for promoting professional gambling.

Police have not released an update on the condition of the victims but say that the gunman, who is receiving treatment at a local hospital, is under arrest and will be charged in the case.

"They had hoods on like this, you couldn't see their face," said witness Jessie Sturgis.

Sturgis says one gunman took off while the other pointed a gun at him and three other club patrons. Sturgis says he escaped through the front door. As he called the police from outside the club, he said he heard several shots from inside. Some of the club patrons hid in a utility closet.

E.C. Robinson, 65, a Gary resident, was shot but managed to defend himself and others with his own gun.

"He shot him twice, that is when E.C. started shooting back," said one witness.

The suspect hid in the bathroom after he was shot until police came and took him into custody.

Sturgis said he hopes the shooting will send a message to the younger people who want to cause trouble from Chicago.

"We're in Indiana, they [are] from Illinois, they don't know people got permits to carry guns, so bang bang, that is what happened," Sturgis said.

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