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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 11:57 am

1 dead, 1 hurt in brawl outside bar

Jeff Wiehe The Journal Gazette

By late Sunday afternoon, there were no longer any remnants of the violence that had taken place early in the morning. 

Gone were the squad cars, the yellow police tape, the shell casings and the hundreds of clubgoers who were outside just as closing time hit, right as a scuffle began and then shots rang out, leaving two men on the ground bleeding.

All that remained outside Piere’s Nightclub on the northeast side of town was a barren parking lot, the empty scene of the city’s latest homicide of which little information has yet to be released – including the victim’s identity. 

What Fort Wayne police and the Allen County coroner have said is this: 

Officers working security outside Piere’s – located in the Marketplace of Canterbury at 5629 St. Joe Road – had just finished clearing out a small fight in the parking lot as the club closed. 

About 3:03 a.m., those officers heard multiple gunshots and proceeded to make their way through the crowd in the parking lot. 

They found two men in the parking lot in front of the portion of Piere’s known as Club Phoenix. 

One of the men was taken to a hospital in good condition. The other was taken to a hospital in critical condition. The man in critical condition was declared dead at 3:30 a.m., and his death was ruled a homicide from at least one gunshot wound. 

His identity is being withheld until possibly today so that officials can notify his relatives, according to the coroner’s office. His death is Allen County’s fourth homicide this year.

There are no suspects in the shooting ,and it’s too early to decide whether gang activity played a part or what – if any – relationship the two victims had with each other, police said. 

No weapons have been recovered. 

It’s not the nightclub’s first brush with violence.

Several shootings have been reported in the parking lot of the club over the past 18 years, and one of the most brazen in the city’s history stemmed from a fight inside the club in 2012. 

On that occasion, a man was stabbed with a broken beer bottle inside Piere’s. After medics loaded him into an ambulance, they left the parking lot trailed by another car carrying the victim’s family. 

Inside another car that followed the caravan were men with guns who proceeded to riddle the ambulance and the stabbing victim’s family’s car with bullets. 

Several people were injured and the shooters were given what essentially amounted to lifetime prison sentences. 

Management at Piere’s could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

In the past, Piere’s officials have said the club allows no weapons inside, there is surveillance video at all times and the staff is trained to pat down patrons.