By The Associated Press
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (AP) — A man attending a birthday party at a North Texas roller rink opened fire Saturday night after an apparent spat between family members, killing five people and wounding at least three others before fatally shooting himself, authorities said.
The shootings happened about 7 p.m. at Forum Roller World in Grand Prairie when police said the man drew a pistol during a fight between a husband and wife.
The victims’ names and ages were not immediately released. Grand Prairie police spokesman John Brimmer said no young children or employees of the roller rink were among them, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. How the gunman was related to the other people who died was not immediately clear.
After the man arrived at a private birthday party, an argument ensued and “it escalated to the point where he pulled a gun and started shooting,” Brimmer said.
The injured were taken to hospitals, and their conditions weren’t immediately disclosed. Grief counselors were available for witnesses, victims and family members, Police Chief Steve Dye said.
Derrian Harris, 18, of Grand Prairie said he rushed to the rink Saturday night after hearing about the shootings, joining others who stood in a bowling alley parking across the street. He said he usually goes skating every Friday night and was worried about whether any of his friends were hurt. He said he has never seen so much as a fight at the rink in Grand Prairie, about 20 miles west of Dallas.
“All kinds of people come here to skate, and everybody gets along,” Harris told The Associated Press.
Aaron Feldt of Grand Prairie told The Dallas Morning News he was across the street when he saw some victims run across the parking lot of the roller rink, where decorative lights were still flashing in the front windows.
“I saw family coming across the street looking panicked,” Feldt said. “They had children along with some adults. You could tell there was a sense of urgency and panic in their eyes.”
Great Southwest Parkway, a major street in an industrial area in front of the rink, was partially blocked off after the shootings. About a dozen police vehicles with lights flashing and a few fire trucks were parked nearby, with a mobile command station in front of the building and police tape surrounding it. As of 9:30 p.m., bodies were still inside the building, the Morning News reported.
Byron Raspberry of Grand Prairie said his children go to the rink frequently because it is near their home.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Raspberry said. “I don’t feel safe at all.”