MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man says he was shielding his girlfriend as he watched his friend get hit by bullets flying through a packed downtown nightclub Monday morning.
The man says he and his friends were in the VIP section at Purple Haze when they noticed the dance floor start to move.
"When we walked in, it was packed. There were well over 200 people there." he said. "It wasn't just a couple of people. It was a lot of people that were backing up, and trying to get away from something they didn't want to be around."
Seconds later, he heard several gunshots.
"The shots didn't happen back-to-back. It was about three shots, and then another shot. A couple seconds went by, and there were a couple more shots."
He and his girlfriend dove to the ground as he flipped over furniture to use as a shield.
"I told her don't move. Honestly, I told her to lay there like you have been shot."
That's when he saw his friend a few feet away.
"Once he heard me yelling at him to get down, he turned around and feel down like a sack of potatoes."
Bullets grazed his friend in the head twice.
"He was bleeding. He was bleeding a lot," he said. "Everyone started going outside, and then we heard shots outside."
When police got to the club on Second Street, it was just after 3:30 a.m.
The gunman was gone.
In all, nine people went to the hospital, some were shot multiple times.
Patrons were frantic on the phone as their loved ones ran to the scene. Many people question how a gun got into the club.
"From my professional perspective, their security team - they're not up to par. Not at all," a man, who works on Beale Street, said. "If you're there frequently enough, they're not going to search you."
This isn't the first time police have been called a the club.
The District Attorney sent a warning stating in part, "I would strongly encourage them to take some meaningful steps to increase safety."
Management at Purple Haze say they take safety seriously and don't know how the gun got into the club, which is why they are closing for the next two weeks to review their security measures.