Three people were shot and a fourth was injured by flying glass when a man who was angry at being turned away from a crowded sports bar went to his car and returned with a gun, firing multiple shots into the windows of the establishment near downtown Dallas late Saturday night.
Police say the man was part of a larger group who tried to gain access to the bar but were turned away due to COVID-19 restrictions.
A spokesperson for the sports bar, located in the 500 block of Riverfront Boulevard, said they were doing temperatures checks at the entrance on its opening night and making sure they were in line with state guidelines.
Witnesses said it was a laid-back environment, and security was counting those going into the establishment and checking their temperatures at the door. But when a group of three men weren’t allowed in for capacity reasons, a scuffle ensued.
“And so they pushed him out of the restaurant and locked the doors and he went into his car and he just started spraying the place,” Micaela Dartson recalled.
Authorities say after the suspect fired into the front of the bar, he then walked to the rear of the building, where several armed citizens confronted him and exchanged fire. None of the armed citizens were injured in that volley, and the suspect and his two friends fled the area after being met with the armed response.
One victim was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, while the other injuries are considered to be non-life threatening. The attack could have been far worse, of course, had armed citizens not been there to prevent the attacker from getting inside.
There’s no word on whether any of those armed citizens might be facing charges, but Texas law prohibits anyone but licensed peace officers from carrying in establishments that make more than half of their revenue from alcohol sales, and according to Fox 4 in Dallas, the owners of the sports bar have been in a dispute with the city over whether one of their other locations should be classified as a bar or a restaurant.
I have a hard time imagining prosecutors actually pursuing any charges for carrying in a gun-free zone (if in fact, it’s determined that the sports bar is a bar and not a restaurant), given the fact that the armed citizens stopped the suspect from continuing his attack. We have no idea how many lives were saved thanks to the fact that the suspect wasn’t the only one armed late Saturday night, but odds are this incident would have turned out much differently if those armed citizens weren’t around.
Police haven’t made any arrests in the case yet, but with dozens of eyewitnesses hopefully authorities have enough information to go on that a suspect will soon be in custody.