SALISBURY, N.C. - Police are looking for a shooter after six people were shot following a late-night party at a Salisbury restaurant, police said.
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” said Arnold Stoner, who manages G Menswear, a clothing store located behind Thelma’s Down Home Cooking, where the shooting occurred shortly after midnight Sunday.
One victim had to be flown to a hospital in Winston-Salem, police said. One victim was shot in the chest. Two others were trampled. The most serious victim is now stable, authorities said Sunday.
The windows and doors were boarded up, as caution tape hung from a pole, outside the restaurant located at the Rowan County-owned West End Plaza Mall on Jake Alexander Boulevard. Inside, strobe lights still flash, from a party that was cut short.
It’s unclear what sparked the shooting.
“You realize there’s danger around noawadays, said Mary Dodge, a senior citizen mall regular. “It’s not like it used to be.”
“I don’t think I would have thought it would have happened here,” said Tom Dodge. “So it’s quite surprising.”
FOX 46 was first on scene. Several yellow crime scene markers were placed outside the restaurant near the mall entrance. Crime scene investigators were seen collecting evidence and taking photographs.
“Stuff like this doesn’t happen around here,” said Stoner.
Businesses at the mall close at 9 pm on weekends, which was when the party at Thelma’s was just getting started, he said.
“Younger crowd, looked like maybe late-teens, early twenties, maybe,” said Stoner. “I just know it was a lot of loud music and people everywhere.”
He’s not sure what the party was for or why Thelma’s stayed open past its posted 9 pm closing time. Stoner says cops were already in the parking lot when the party began.
“So there was already law enforcement on the scene?,” asked FOX 46’s Matt Grant.
“Oh yeah,” said Stoner. “Oh yeah. They was everywhere.”
Stoner says the incident worries him. For now, his thoughts are with the victims.
“I was like man, woah, this is like too close for comfort,” he said. “But I just pray the families are OK.”
Police want to see any cell phone videos or photos taken from inside the restaurant. Anyone with information is urged to call Salisbury police at (704) 638-5333.
The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the case.