OUTSIDE POWER ULTRA LOUNGE: The concert was held on the second floor.
Around 2:30 a.m., Saturday, July 1, 25 people were shot at the Power Ultra Lounge. Three were injured in the ensuing scramble. There were no fatalities. We talked to a few of the people injured.
Bogan, 23, of Sherwood, and her husband, Kenneth, weren't planning on going out until some of her husband's friends convinced them to come along to Club Level in downtown Little Rock. But it was closed. "So, it was like, let’s just go up to Power," she said.
They arrived and Bogan was patted down and her purse was searched. "In my mind, I’m thinking that if everybody got patted down we are going to be safe," she said.
After "maybe an hour, an hour and a half," Bogan said, their group decided to leave. "We were like, ‘C’mon, let’s go. We not feeling the vibe. I don’t really want to be here.’ So, as we were getting ready to leave, that’s when Finese2Tymes got on stage. And you know everybody was like turnt
up and happy. So, we was
like, 'Alright, let’s see what he sings.' "
As the set began, behind them, an argument broke out.
"I told my husband, ‘They arguing now. But arguing will turn to fighting and fighting might turn into something worse,’ " she said. "My husband and my friends were like, ‘C’mon y’all
let’s go.’ Before we can even turn around we heard gunshots. And the gunshots were coming right from behind us."
They hit the ground. Bogan looked over and realized that a woman beside her had been shot.
"This girl had actually got shot that was next to me. I was like ‘What if I was just an inch over? Would I have got shot?’" she remembered thinking.
There was then a pause in the gunshots and her group got up to head for the door.
"While we were getting up, that’s when we heard another round of shots," she said. But, they kept running for the exit. "We tried to get down the stairs but we fell."
They got back up and kept moving towards the exit.
"There was like 60 people trying to run out one door," Bogan recalled. "Everybody was falling over each other, tumbling.”
Their group pushed their way out and Bogan surveyed her surroundings.
"We thought we were safe being outside. Then we see some people jumping out the window. We heard more gunshots, glass breaking," she recalls. “There was about three people outside [bleeding]. This one dude didn’t even know that he was shot.”
Bogan hopped a fence and made her way to her car. After crossing the street, a car backed up to her without stopping. "It ran me over," she said. At first, the adrenaline was so high though she did even notice it the damage done. Her husband's friends, who had convinced them to go out, were still not around, so they waited.
"That’s when my husband is like, ‘Look at your foot. Your foot is messed up.’ He was like, ‘What did you do?’ I was like, ‘a car ran over me," she said. "That’s when I sat on the sidewalk and the police noticed my foot."
They called an ambulance and took Bogan to Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock. It was a hectic environment.
“It was just a lot of chaos. Because I think two or three of the shooting victims went there too. The doctors were running around. Everybody was trying to get to [the other victims] because their injury was more serious. And it was just crazy," she said.
Eventually, they treated her injury and set her to meet with a surgeon on Thursday for a full evaluation. She was released at 8 a.m. the next morning and her husband drove her back home.
But, things have still been hard. Fireworks on Sunday evening at a relative's house set her into an anxiety attack and she is dreading the Fourth of July. Plus, she's hardly slept.
"I maybe have had like two hours of sleep [since the shooting]," she said. At night — when it is dark and quiet — she struggles. "I guess because it was dark in the club, so I try to sleep with the TV on," she said, or "in the living room when there’s a lot of noise."
"But I can’t," she said again. "I can’t sleep at night."
Jaron Eackles, 25 and from Little Rock, was at the doctor when we called. He was trying to get pain medication. "Because my pain from a scale of 1 to 10 is a 10. So, I want to get something for my pain so I can enjoy my holiday," Eackles said.
He was shot twice — "in my inner thigh, like on
my groin and my stomach" — and his outside thigh was grazed.
When the shots began, Eackles was standing on a couch. "I was too short to see," he explained. "I was watching the concert, the guy was performing and I heard the shots."
He jumped down and ran to his left. Then, "There it was, I got shot," he remembers.
"Once I got shot I hit the ground, ... there were so many shots going off. I just wanted to crawl. But, it was just too many shots going off," Eackles
remembered. "Since I was already shot I might get shot again. I just wanted to hurry up and get out of the club. I got back up and held my head down, just hoping I don’t get hit in the head or nothing."
He ran out the club and straight to his car, and gunned it to UAMS, estimating he made it there in about three minutes. On the way, he called his mother and she told him she'd meet him at the hospital.
Pulling up, there were two men in an ambulance.
"They got out and I told them I was shot," he said. "Someone brought a wheelchair, and they rolled me in and they got to work on me."
"I’d never been shot before so I was kind of scared. I stayed up all night. I couldn’t go to sleep," Eackles recalled. "I didn’t know how it was going to play out. If I was going to die if I went to sleep or what. Everyone was telling me to get some rest, get some rest, I just couldn’t."
Eackles, a father of a 7-year-old, has mainly been thinking forward since then. He does not think he will be able to go back to work, is worried about providing for his son, and set up a GoFundMe page
"Like my whole body feels different. I’m noticing differences going on with my body," he said. "My son, he has to put on my shoes and my socks because I can’t even bend down."
And Eackles is still confused by what happened.
"My main focus was I got a pat down before I went into the club," he said. "I don’t understand how the guns got in the club. I really don’t understand it."
Malcolm Steward wasn't supposed to be at Power Ultra Lounge the night of the shooting. A resident of Brookhaven, Miss., Steward was in Little Rock visiting friends when they saw the advertisement for the concert by a rapper he knew from concerts in Memphis and decided to come. The venue seemed to him like a safe place to enjoy some music.
"Before I went to the club, I checked the reviews and saw that it was a nice place," he said. "Then, when I got there, I saw that it was in the middle of town and saw the food part and everything. I thought it was going to be a nice place."
Steward, 23, said the evening was going fine and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, but he said he assumed there was a gang element in the crowd. "I heard them hollering a lot of gang stuff," Steward said. "I could tell there were some gangs in there or whatever."
Steward said he was standing in the back of the crowd close to a door when the shooting started, the shots coming from the crowd. The rush for the exits turned the upstairs room of Power Ultra Lounge into a confusing, chaotic nightmare, with people falling and being trampled. Steward raced down the stairs and sought shelter in the restaurant kitchen with several venue employees and other concert goers. Eventually, he made his way outside. It wasn't until he was out on the street that he realized he'd been shot through the left thigh.
"I just started feeling a funny feeling in my leg," he said. "I lifted up my pants and saw that I was bleeding. I realized I was shot. There was an officer right there and he put a tourniquet on my leg. After that I was pretty much fine. I could still walk and everything, and I'm walking right now."
Steward was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated and released. He said he's expected to make a full recovery and hopes to return to work next week. While in the hospital, he said he overheard police and nurses talking about all the shootings that have been happening in Little Rock in recent weeks. He said that with two security guards at the door with handheld metal detectors, he can't understand how the handguns used by the shooters made their way into the club. "I'm from Mississippi and I go to a lot of clubs down here, and they pat you down so people can't sneak [handguns] in," he said. "This place, they had metal detectors and they checked you all over. I don't even see how they got them in there."
Though Steward was a frequent concertgoer at clubs in Mississippi, the narrow escape in Little Rock has soured him on the experience.
"I think I'm done with clubs," he said. "I don't think I'll ever go to another club."
A Little Rock resident, Killingsworth, 20, said that he, his friends and one of his brothers came to Power Ultra Lounge on Friday night to listen to music and have some fun. Security seemed typical, Killingsworth said: two men at the door in vests and security T-shirts, each with a metal detecting wand.
Killngsworth said the crowd seemed calm most of the night. He said he never saw any arguments or fights in the crowd, but added that in the silence between songs when people would call out their gang affiliation. "The music would stop playing and everybody would be yelling out gangs and where they're from and stuff like that," he said. "That's one incident where it popped off."
When the shooting started, Killingsworth was upstairs watching the concert, standing near a low wall that separated the VIP section from the rest of the club. Then came the shots. Then screaming. Killingworth said he hit the floor, waited a bit, then ran for the stairs. In the dark, he could see blinding white muzzle flashes — what he called "sparks" — as what he described as "people shooting and people shooting back in retaliation" opened up around him in the crowded club.
"All you could see was sparks," he said. "It was near me. I couldn't see when it was coming from, but that was my time to go."
As Killingsworth ran, he was hit twice, once in the left bicep, and a bullet grazed across his lower left back. "It was unreal," he said. "It was a shock. It happened so quick and out of nowhere. Too many shots. I seen a girl get hit. I don't know where she was shot, but she was in front of me. She fell. People were pushing and shoving trying to get past me. I'm running, shot, and they're trying to push past me."
Down the stairs and out the front door, Killingsworth ran most of a block before turning back to see if he could find his friends and brother. "That's when they started shooting again [inside the club]," he said. "You could hear windows breaking, people screaming. When I started walking back to the building, that's when I saw that I was shot. My shirt was wet, and I looked down to see why it was wet and saw all the blood."
As Killingsworth stood there in shock, looking at the blood coursing down his side, two female friends who had been at the concert happened by in a car. They loaded him into the back seat and rushed him to Arkansas Children's Hospital. They may have saved his life. The slug is still in his arm, lying between the bicep and the bone. His mother was trying to make an appointment today with a doctor who could remove it in the next few days.
Asked how it was possible that no one at Power Ultra Lounge was killed, given the amount of lead flying around inside the crowded club during the shooting, Killingsworth attributes that to fate and a higher power.
"Someone was watching over us," he said. "It wasn't our time yet."