PALMETTO, Fla. – Florida authorities are searching for at least two gunmen who shot up a nightclub in Palmetto early Saturday morning, leaving two people dead and another 22 wounded.
The gunmen opened fired on a crowd of people standing outside of Club Elite at about 12:30 a.m., according to a police report, MyFox Tampa Bay reports. Trayton Goff, 25, and Gwenette Matthews, 38, died. The other victims were taken to area hospitals.
Police said they believe the suspects used AK-47 assault rifles, according to the Bradenton Herald. About 70 to 80 rounds were fired in the shooting and police have recovered spent 7.62 x 39-mm. cartridge cases, leading police to believe at least one semi-automatic weapon was used.
Police told Bay News 9 that investigators found a suspected bomb behind the club and detonated it.
The shooting has struck fear into area residents.
"It just scares me," said Theresea Amado, who lives a few doors down from the club. "I don't even want to live here anymore."
Witnesses told MyFox Tampa Bay that the club patrons scattered quickly once the gunfire erupted. Shell casings were strewn about in the street in front of the club and blood was visible in a nearby Walgreens parking lot, MyFox Tampa Bay reported.
Police have not yet released a motive for the shooting.
"As of yet we don't know who the intended targets were, but to shoot into a crowd knowing that more than one person is going to be hit, I can't imagine," said Lt.Scott Tyler of the Palmetto Police Department. "Heinous is a good word for it."
Palmetto is just south of Tampa Bay and north of Bradenton.
Another homicide occurred near Club Elite last year. Breon Mitchell, 23, was gunned down last December by Tavarious China Smith, MyFox Tampa Bay reported. Prosecutors dropped murder charges against Smith, 28, two months later, arguing he acted in self-defense.