A shooting at a North Lawrence strip club early Sunday left one man wounded, and a suspect is at large.
Luis Arias, 32, of Wetherby, Mo., was shot in the leg after an altercation involving 10 to 15 people outside AllStars, 913 N. 2nd St., police said. The shooting occurred at 1:40 a.m. Sunday. Arias was admitted to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and later released.
The shooting brings new questions about the safety of Lawrence establishments. It recalls the February 2006 shooting that killed Robert Earl Williams outside the Granada, 1020 Mass., and the May 2006 incident at Last Call where shots sent patrons scattering for safety. Last Call, 729 N.H., installed metal detectors following the incident there.
Police reported 21 weapons violations in downtown Lawrence from June 2005 to June 2007.
"We are treating this as a very serious incident," said Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Richard Nickell. Police have not identified a suspect but say they are looking for a black male who was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt.
A man who identified himself as an AllStars manager refused to comment for this story.
Janet Brown, an employee at Woody's Gas Express, located across the street from AllStars, was surprised to hear that a shooting occurred.
"Sometimes they're rowdy; sometimes they're quiet," she said. "Usually it's pretty quiet. It's surprising."
Brown said she noticed a stream of party buses in the AllStars' parking lot Sunday but had never heard of such a violent incident in the six months she has worked across from AllStars.
It is not the first time gun violence has stemmed from the club. In June 2005, police investigated gunshots fired in the parking lot. No one was injured, and AllStars manager Will Reed said in published reports that he didn't think patrons were involved in the 2005 incident.
In 2002, when the club was known as Bada Bing, a man threatened a police officer with a crowbar.
Police responding to Sunday's shooting recovered a weapon from one AllStars patron and are interviewing several others. According to witnesses, a second man fired the shot that struck Arias.
Last year, Lawrence city commissioners were considering measures to increase safety at local establishments, including the creation of an entertainment license that would give the city more power to regulate businesses, and a city-run program that would license and train bouncers and security personnel. But no conclusion on the proposals was reached.
In March, the city approved changes to an existing ordinance that outlaws carrying a weapon within 200 feet of a drinking establishment unless a person has a concealed-carry permit or meets several other specific exceptions. Punishment includes stricter fines and the threat of longer jail sentences.
At 6 p.m. Sunday, it appeared that business went on as usual at the club, where 14 cars sat in the parking lot.
Nickell urged anyone with additional information to call the CrimeStoppers hotline at 843-TIPS.