Police had no suspects Sunday afternoon in an early morning shooting outside a Des Moines bar that left three people dead and at least three others injured.
Des Moines police detectives were interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance video footage after processing a shooting scene that included the parking lot of La Familia Sports Pub and Lounge, 22855 Pacific Highway S., and two adjacent businesses: a Red Lion hotel to the north, where one victim fled, bleeding on cars in the parking lot and in the lobby, and a Walgreens to the south.
Witnesses at the Red Lion reported hearing 20 to 25 gunshots followed by screaming at about 2 a.m. Sunday. Police said the shooting followed a dispute between two people inside La Familia. People involved in the dispute left the bar, got into separate vehicles, firing as they fled, presumably south onto Pacific Highway, Des Moines Police spokesperson Sgt. Scott Oak said.
Six victims, including the three who died, have been confirmed, Oak said, though he allowed for the possibility that more might have been injured. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office will perform autopsies Monday morning, he said.
Harborview Medical Center spokesperson Susan Gregg said the hospital had received five wounded patients, with two listed in critical condition as of Sunday evening, she said. Two victims were released and one remained at the hospital in critical condition Monday morning, according to Gregg.
None of the victims’ identities were released Sunday.
At midday Sunday, a husband and wife brought two bouquets of roses and laid them against the painted yellow brick wall of La Familia, beneath a sign advertising pool, darts, live music and friendly staff.
Approached by reporters, the man said, “Nah, hell no. My brother got killed. I don’t know who did it. You don’t know who did it.”
After speaking briefly with another man who was inside the bar, the woman moved the bouquets to the curb along Pacific Highway, while the first man admonished a camera crew to stop filming her. “This ain’t a TV show. My family’s mourning right now.”
The man from inside the club — who later hugged another woman in the parking lot wearing a black “La Familia” hat and then departed in a black Hummer that was parked near the front door — said of his interaction with the woman: “She put some flowers up against the building. I was just telling her no one died on that property.”
He declined to comment further. Owners of the bar could not be reached Sunday.
Police spokesman Oak said one of the people killed in the shooting was found in the La Familia parking lot. Another victim was found in the curbside high-occupancy vehicle lane of Pacific Highway. A third ran to the Red Lion.
Keith Rogers, staying at the Red Lion, said he saw blood and medical supplies in the lobby and found blood droplets on his family’s Jeep Cherokee parked in the parking lot.
“We also saw loved ones show up, of the victims, and saw them find out what happened and crying,” he said.
Oak said Des Moines police had responded to “a fair amount of calls” at the business in a previous incarnation known as the Players Club. He said it closed shortly after the onset of the pandemic last year but reopened a few months ago as La Familia, under new ownership. “It doesn’t seem like it’s been a problem for us since they’ve been in business for the last two or three months,” he said.
State business records list the owners as FourGents Investment Group. The business was issued a liquor license in April.
Oak said of the new owner, or owners: “He didn’t want it to turn into what it had been. So he had security and was trying to do a good job of keeping it legal, for lack of a better term. But I think what happened is it was kind of known as Players Club, and I think some of the clientele sort of returned. Based on what I’m hearing from patrol, it sounds like the calls were starting to pick up a little bit, but I couldn’t give you the exact number of calls recently.”
An employee at the Red Lion said the bar “has been crazy, you know, a lot of music and a lot of activity. It’s a club, so things get a little out of control here and there.”
Des Moines police ask anyone with information that could help identify the suspects to call 206-878-3301.
Seattle Times staff reporter Daisy Zavala contributed to this report.