JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 34-year-old man from San Antonio is accused of shooting another man early Saturday morning after both were ejected after a verbal confrontation at the Ice Lounge Bar and Grill on Jacksonville's North Side, according to police.
At about 3:30 a.m., Christopher Hall was shot in the stomach while he and Ricky Thomas were outside the lounge near the intersection of New Kings Road and Soutel Drive, officials said. Hall was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with a non-life-threatening injury.
According to the police report, an off-duty Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective saw Thomas pull out a 9mm handgun just before the shooting.
Thomas, who denied having or firing a gun, was also taken to the hospital, but the report did not say why.
Thomas, who served 10 years in prison in Texas for possession of a firearm, was charged with attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
One of the lounge’s bartenders, Crystal, was working when the shooting happened. She told News4Jax that it was a frightening scene.
Investigators lined the street while they tried to figure out what led up to the shooting. Crystal said Hall is a regular at the club, a person she knows well.
“He’s a nice guy. He doesn't come in and interrupt the club or anything. He's here almost every week. He's a good guy. It's messed up that that happened to him,” Crystal said.
Police said that within seconds after the shots were fired, three off-duty JSO officers who were working security at the club had Thomas in custody. Investigators said it was their quick actions that ended the possibility of anyone else in the crowd of about 100 from getting shot.
Crystal says they always have off-duty officers working security.
“It's scary because we run a pretty safe establishment,” Crystal said. “A lot of people come here because they know that this is a pretty safe club. For that to happen, it messes up a lot of people's livelihood."
She also said she hadn’t seen the suspected shooter in the club before, but is thankful that nobody else was hurt.
“He isn’t from here, so he didn't know that you can't do that here (at this club). He came from out of town, and now he is going to be in jail in Florida,” Crystal said.
Crystal said the club will likely try to add even more security in the future.
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