Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Police arrest 19-year-old man
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City police made an arrest Tuesday in the late-night fight that escalated into gunfire and left eight people injured shortly after the Thunder-Lakers NBA playoff game ended a few blocks away.
Police Capt. Dexter Nelson said 19-year-old Rodney Hill was arrested on complaints of shooting with intent to kill in connection to the Monday night fight in Oklahoma City's Bricktown entertainment district.
Nelson said the shooting didn't appear to be connected to the playoff game, which Oklahoma City won and eliminated Los Angeles to advance to the NBA Western Conference finals
"All we're hearing from some of the witnesses is there was pushing and shoving in the area," Nelson said. "Apparently a group of girls got into it with some guys. It was shortly thereafter that gunfire erupted."
Nelson said he did not know if Hill, who hasn't been formally charged, had retained a lawyer.
A crowd of 18,203 was leaving Chesapeake Energy Arena and an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 more fans were outside when the shooting was reported at 11:35 p.m. Monday.
Officers said earlier that seven people had been shot and a pregnant woman was injured. Police now say eight people were injured by gunfire, including one critically, and the pregnant woman was injured when she was assaulted in the scuffle.
Police said the victims were taken to hospitals, and one was in critical condition Tuesday. Nelson said the others were in good condition.
Nelson said an unknown number of other suspects were being sought in connection with the shooting and that the motive remained unclear.
"We can theorize, but we won't know unless one of the suspects tells us," about the motive, Nelson said.
Police were also checking with nearby businesses that may have surveillance cameras that captured the fight and shooting.
Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney issued a statement saying the violence "put a damper on what was otherwise an exciting night for Oklahoma City and the Thunder."
"We are in communication with the Oklahoma City Police Department to determine exactly what happened and if there was any way for it to be prevented," Mahoney said.
He said keeping fans safe is a top priority and the team would work with the city and police to review security and crowd control procedures and makes changes as needed.
Nelson did not know how many officers were assigned to the area at the time. He said some reported hearing gunfire but were unable to quickly respond because of the crowd.
"If we had the entire department down there, we would have still been outnumbered," by about 20-1, Nelson said.