LAKELAND, Tenn. — A shooting that injured three people at a girl's 16th birthday party started after her grandfather blocked four people from entering the neighborhood clubhouse where the party was held.
A report from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said the man, who was working the door of the party with his son, told deputies the four males who showed up at the door Sunday night "looked to(o) Ghetto."
Words were exchanged and the group left, but gunshots rang out a few minutes later.
When deputies arrived to the scene on Matwood Oak Drive in Lakeland, they found two juvenile males laying in the bathroom floor with gunshot wounds, one on his lower back and the other on his lower leg. Both were conscious and talking.
A third juvenile male was found with a gunshot to the buttock. Another later showed up at a hospital with injuries he said he sustained from jumping over a golf cart to escape the bullets.
Two of the victims were taken to Regional One in critical condition.
Deputies recovered 15 spent shell casings in front of the clubhouse and 12 behind it.
A neighbor told police he saw a white car drive by, then turn around. He heard shots coming from that vehicle toward the clubhouse, he said.
Lakeland Mayor Wyatt Bunker said Monday that the shooters were "gang members" and not residents of Lakeland. Deputies have not confirmed that.
“To have security at a 16-year-old’s birthday party in an area like Lakeland, Tennessee, which has one of the lowest crime region, why were you expecting a problem?" Bunker said Tuesday. "Were you expecting a problem, is my question?”
You have to be in the homeowner’s association to rent the clubhouse and are required to attend the event.
The homeowner told detectives she was at the party, but Bunker said he’s heard otherwise from multiple people.
And says there were several complaints about loud noise and teens being where they shouldn’t early in the night.
“If you were a part of that, if you were really there, why were you not controlling the situation?” Bunker asked.
The mayor says the homeowners' association is looking into changing their policies for renting the clubhouse to prevent situations like this from happening again.
The three teenagers are recovering and persons of interest are being interviewed.