One girl’s sweet sixteen party came to a violent end in Bridgeport, Saturday night. Several teens were hospitalized with gunshot wounds after a fight broke out at the Italian American Club, Club Sportivo.
“It was chaotic. It was very chaotic. They almost made you feel like the people were coming back to shoot some more, we didn’t know,” said Arthur West.
West, a church elder at Triumphant Christian Church, was holding a men’s meeting with teen parishioners. As he talked to the teens about making good life choices, they heard gun fire erupt next door.
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“Young people running, crying, very upset,” said West.
Police said a large group of unwanted guests crashed a sweet sixteen party around 10:30 Saturday night. Investigators said a fight broke out inside, and spilled out into the parking lot, where upwards of 300 teens had gathered.
“Upon arrival, officers discovered a couple of people with one shot in the leg and then one shot in the wrist,” said Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez.
The bullets injured five teens; one was hospitalized in serious condition. The four others had been released by Sunday morning.
Councilwoman Jeanette Herron lives five blocks away, and heard the gunfire.
“This is sad. People don’t have respect for each other anymore. These children should have been able to have fun without anyone invading their space,” she said.
Police said at least two suspects were behind the gunfire that ruined the celebration. They hope surveillance video will help identify the suspects. So far, they believe the suspects fled in a silver Honda Crosstour.
“It’s all nonsense between kids. They’re all kids. Kids with guns,” stated the police chief.
The weapon recovered was a .45 caliber semi-automatic weapon, according to Bridgeport Police Captain Brian Fitzgerald.
“It looks like the serial numbers may have been obliterated on it,” said Fitzgerald.
West asked the teens how the fight started, “They said it was the ends of town the north end the south end and different areas, came together here and a fight ensued.”
Police said there was adult supervision at the party, but the cross-town rivalry was a recipe for disaster. They are investigating whether the fight was gang-related.
“I am very confident that we will make an arrest this week,” Perez added.
Police said the host renting the party room from the Italian American Club didn’t need a permit because alcohol was not being served. Police said the club’s management will now require security when they rent out the facility.
Anyone with information is asked to call Bridgeport police at (203) 576-TIPS (8477).