WATERLOO — Two gunmen entered a private after-hours club downtown, seeking a particular target. Others pulled their own guns in response and the scene erupted in gunfire, according to an eyewitness.
The person, who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation, said they already shared what they knew with Waterloo police.
Bullets were flying back and forth, hitting bystanders trying frantically to escape the club, which had only one unlocked exit. At least eight people were hit.
“I can’t sleep,” that person told The Courier on Sunday. “Every time I close my eyes, I see the girl who got ... shot ... in front of me.”
The witness was celebrating a friend’s birthday Friday evening into Saturday, starting the night at Bros Bar and Grill in Waterloo.
The crowd was large. Management insisted on scanning everyone who entered with a metal detector, which may have thwarted violence there.
After Bros closed, about half the crowd migrated to the after-hours club at 501 W. Fourth St. run by members of the local Sin City motorcycle club chapter to continue the birthday celebration. That included the witness.
At around 3:15 a.m. Saturday, two people entered through the back door, the only way in or out. One began shooting at one man in particular, the witness said.
When the shooting began, around five others who also were carrying guns returned fire.
“Bullets just hit everybody,” the person said.
Clubgoers panicked, trampling each other in a bid to get out, and throwing chairs at the front door, which was locked, to break the glass and escape.
The witness was trampled, getting scraped up in the melee.
“People were just shooting from both ways, and it was all innocent bystanders in the middle,” the person said. “People started shooting back at them. It just turned into the wild, wild West.”
The witness was able to “army crawl” to the back exit and waited for the shooter to reload, then was able to escape.
Police say at least eight people were hit by gunfire, with a dozen ending up at local hospitals. Two have died from their injuries, including 22-year-old Dacarious Burket of Waterloo, according to organizers of a vigil, and a 28-year-old woman who the witness said was from out of town.
The witness is still in shock, trying to check on people they know were inside to see if they were injured.
“I know four people who were grazed by bullets who never went to the hospital. They’re scared to go to the hospital,” the witness said.
The witness is scared too, so scared they won’t go out anymore.
“It was too many innocent people that lost their lives.”
This article was updated Sept. 29, 2020, to remove part of a quote from a witness that some readers found too shocking.
"I can't sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see the girl who got her brain shot out in front of me."
eyewitness to deadly shooting