“There’s an active shooter at this club I’m at now y’all. Pray for us,” tweeted user javigee_.
Salt Lake City police officers responded to a “shots fired just occurred” call shortly after 11:30 p.m. Friday, Sep. 18, at The Sun Trapp, 102 S. 600 West, Salt Lake City.
According to Micheal Repp, manager of The Sun Trapp and husband of the owner, Riley Richter, a man at the bar grabbed the breasts of a female employee working the door. He was not a regular, though Repp believes the man may have been there earlier in the week. Security removed him from the bar, telling him such behavior was unacceptable. The man became irate and took a swing at the security employee, who then pushed him away, Repp said. The man then pulled out a gun, chambered it, and pointed it at the employee’s head, saying, “this isn’t going to go well.”
Another individual who had come to the bar with the suspect was said to have come over and begun throwing punches.
Bar customers were hurriedly moved to two areas in the bar and asked to shelter in place. Several patrons called 911 and some recorded the ordeal.
The suspects then left, walking away; and the man with the gun fired shots and picked up the casings, Repp said. Some in the bar yelled “shots fired,” to the police dispatchers, on video recorded by patrons.
The owner of a food truck parked near the bar followed the suspects north towards North Temple and noted where the gunman allegedly stashed the gun. He showed police where the men were when they arrived, and the officers apprehended them within seven minutes of the incident, according to Repp.
The arresting officers told Repp that among the charges under consideration are possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm by a restricted person, aggravated felony assault, and sexual assault.
“We would like to thank the Salt Lake City Police Department for their insanely quick response. They were present and on the scene within a minute and a half,” read a post from the Sun Trapp management on their Facebook page. “A huge thank you to an amazing friend who was on scene that followed them and was able to [relay to police] where [the suspects] were and the police had them face down and arrested within seven minutes of the incident.”
Repp pointed out a number of safety measures the bar has taken over the past several years, including 21 high definition cameras throughout the space and a large emergency exit that can be opened up in a matter of seconds.
Video from Twitter user soyzergy shows patrons sheltering in the front area of the bar, crawling and sitting on the floor as a Sun Trapp employee calmly tells them, “We are safe.”
Repp is angered by the suspects and feels that they targeted the bar because the LGBT community is currently fractured and that the current political climate is fueling anti-LGBT sentiment.
“To have these entitled straight men come into our bar and become belligerent, and to cause chaos in our community … they were out to do something bad,” Repp said. “You don’t go to an LGBT bar with a loaded weapon and drink without wanting to do something horrible.”
He emphasized that the safety of the bar’s patrons is first and foremost in the bar management’s mind.
“We will be taking extreme [additional] safety measures from here on out to ensure that the insanity of the world doesn’t approach us again,” he wrote in a statement.
A walk-through metal detector is scheduled for installation shortly, according to Repp.
He also said that management is demanding that affected employees to speak with a counselor. This will change people’s lives, he said, and all involved will need to work through it.