NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Scott Medeiros slipped into the Foxy Lady strip club, carrying an assault rifle, jilted by a bartender he once dated and apparently looking to settle a score.
He killed another of the bartender's ex-boyfriends and the club's manager, and traded shots with police, wounding two officers in a gun battle before taking his own life.
"This is a fellow who just obviously lost it," said Tom Tsoumas, the club's managing owner, who lost his nephew — club manager Tory Marandos, 30 — in the attack early Tuesday morning.
The violence seemed sudden, but it appeared well planned. Medeiros, 35, of Freetown, entered unnoticed into a building where club officials once paid him to set up a security system. A black ski mask disguised his face and a bulletproof vest protected his chest, witnesses said.
Marandos and club security employee Bobby Carreiro, 33, died in the bloody climax of a dispute between Carreiro and Medeiros over a bartender who wasn't even at the club. Police didn't identify her, but Irene Thomas, a friend of Carreiro, said she is the mother of Carreiro's young child.
Medeiros had been romantically involved with the bartender after her relationship with Carreiro dwindled, Thomas said. Tsoumas said the gunman was no longer welcome at the club.
"We had told this young man not to come near the club," Tsoumas said.
He said Carreiro had told Medeiros: "'This isn't the place for you. She doesn't want to see you. It's only going to cause problems.'"
"He went away, but he evidently came in last night," Tsoumas said Tuesday.
A club security guard, Ned Tsouprake, said he saw Medeiros step through a cloud of smoke inside the club.
"He shot at me," Tsouprake said. "I don't know how he missed me."
When police arrived, a gunfight erupted, lasting about 10 minutes.
One officer got shrapnel in the eye after Medeiros sprayed his police cruiser with bullets, said police spokesman Capt. Richard Spirlet. The officer's partner was also hurt but listed in fair condition.
A man inside the club was shot in both legs, Spirlet said. A woman also suffered injuries, but police are unsure what happened to her, he said.
One police cruiser was used as a rolling shield for people as they escaped the club across a parking lot, Spirlet said.
Spirlet said Medeiros spoke with dispatchers during the standoff, though Spirlet would not say how long they spoke or what was said.
Police entered the building after they believed workers and customers had left and found Medeiros dead, Spirlet said.
Freetown Police Chief Carlton Abbott said Medeiros was twice issued a weapons license, most recently in 2005. It permitted him to buy assault-style military rifles.
A police background check, conducted prior to the 2005 licensing, showed that Medeiros had not been convicted of a felony, violent crime or had any restraining orders taken against him, Abbott said.
New Bedford is a historic whaling town of nearly 100,000 residents about 50 miles south of Boston. It was the site of another bar shooting in February when an 18-year-old armed with a hatchet and gun seriously injured three men in a gay bar. That attacker fled and later killed two people in Arkansas before fatally shooting himself.
In October, a 21-year-old man was charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to run down two police officers outside the Foxy Lady after an altercation in the club.