Gangs, guns, Girls Gone Wild at Tremont St. club

by Beacon Staff • February 27, 2008

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One officer, who was standing on an elevated platform, reported being splashed with orange juice from a bottle thrown at those standing around him just before the shots rang out.

Also injured was a state trooper, who sustained a broken arm while trying to wrestle the gun from Haley, according to police reports.

Officers from the Youth Violence Strike Force were on patrol in the club to identify any known gang members, according to the police report filed. Officers inside were dressed in plain clothes with jackets emblazoned with "police" across the back and with their badges displayed.

According to the report, one known Norfolk gang member and another possible Crown Path gang associate was spotted in the crowd before the melee began.

Police confiscated an Intratec Luger 9 mm pistol loaded with six rounds in the clip. Haley, also known as Damion Powell in other court files, was arraigned on Feb. 25 on two counts of attempted murder, assaulting an officer, along with various weapon charges, court papers indicate.

"I had a beef with them, they threw a drink so I had to come out with it," Haley said after being read his rights, court papers indicate.

Police searched people as they left the club, leaving many to linger outside in the cold waiting to retrieve their possessions late into the night.

Eddie Sparkman, who was in the club at the time of the shooting, said everyone was dancing when the fight broke out. Sparkman said police rushed in immediately to break up the crowd when he heard the shots.

"You heard 'boom boom,' and the whole club went to the floor," Sparkman said, as he waited outside the cordoned-off Aria.

Freshman Tim Shepard, an LB resident, was outside of the nearby New York Pizza restaurant when the shooting occured. The large number of cops and loud sirens made him think something had happened but he said he didn't find out about the shooting until later.

"I noticed the street was blocked off and I'd never seen the cops do that before," the organizational and political communication major said. "It's discouraging because I'm from a small town but I can take that it comes with living downtown where there's all kinds of riff-raff."

Evan MacDonald and Steve Klise, Beacon staff, contributed to this article.