A manhunt was launched early Sunday for at least two gunmen who opened fire inside a Kansas City, Kansas, bar just before closing time, killing four people and wounding another five before fleeing the chaotic scene, according to police.
The deadly incident broke out about 1:27 a.m. at the Tequila KC Bar, a private members-only tavern, when two men came through the door and opened fire without warning, police said.
"When we went inside we found four Hispanic males that have been shot and were deceased. Outside we located five more victims that were all transported to area hospitals," Officer T.J. Tomasic, a spokesman for the Kansas City Police, said during a news conference Sunday morning outside the Central Avenue bar.
Tomasic said police combed through video surveillance footage from inside the bar, and late on Sunday afternoon released still photos taken from the video showing the two suspects inside and outside the bar, including one wearing a Kansas City Royals jersey. Police asked the public to help them identify the suspects.
Of the four men fatally gunned down, one was in his late 50s, another was in his late 30s and two were in their mid-20s, Tomasic said.
Authorities said the five people wounded are all in stable condition at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City.
Tomasic said there were at least 40 people inside the bar when the shooting broke out about a half-hour before the 2 a.m. closing time.
He said the incident may have stemmed from an altercation that occurred at the bar earlier.
The Tequilla KC Bar operates as a private club and patrons are asked to show a membership card before entering, according to a sign in front of the establishment.
Police suspect the shooting was an isolated incident and that the community was not in imminent danger.
Tomasic said investigators, at this time, do not believe race was a factor in the motive behind the quadruple homicide.
Witnesses described the suspects as Hispanic and that all of the victims are Hispanic.
"I don't wish this upon anybody," Juan Ramirez, whose 29-year-old nephew was among those killed, told the Kansas City Star newspaper.
Ramirez said he and his family were searching for another relative who was in the bar at the time of the shooting.
Ramirez said investigators told him there had been a fight at the bar earlier, and that at least one of the men involved in the dispute left the bar and returned with a gun and opened fire. He said he does not believe his nephew, the father of two young children, had anything to do with the fight and was an innocent bystander.
"We're just in shock and disbelief," Ramirez told the Star.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said on Twitter that the deadly shooting occurred just hours after he visited the University of Kansas Medical Center to talk to emergency room nurses and physicians about the trauma cases they've been seeing from an increase of violence in the community and the toll it is taking on the staff.
"Hate to see an incident like this last night (early AM)," Lucas tweeted. "My heart goes out to all victims and all touched by last night’s shooting."