DAYTON — UPDATE at 6 p.m. Sunday:
Police still cannot confirm whether shots were fired near or at MJ’s bar Saturday night during the protests for George Floyd.
We continue to hear conflicting reports around the incident that left the bar with damage.
“One of the gentlemen [working there] flashed a firearm at protesters, which upset the protesters,” Steven Cooley told News Center 7′s Sean Cudahy. “A member of the bar then threw a barstool, and immediately followed with a gunshot in the air, at a crowd of about 45 people."
Another viewer gave the same story to Cudahy over the phone Sunday.
A performer denied any reports of gunfire when speaking to us Saturday night, and claimed that rocks were thrown by protesters, followed by police storming the establishment. You can watch that interview below.
When asked about the incident, Chief Biehl said he is not sure whether police will continue to investigate, calling their efforts Saturday night “unsuccessful.”
UPDATE at 12:45 p.m. Sunday:
Police received three reports of gunfire Saturday during the Dayton protests and one of them led police to the bar MJ’s, according to Chief Richard Biehl.
News Center 7 crews showed live video as several officers were outside MJs.
In the video you can hear rhythmic sounds followed by officers taking cover behind a concrete post and eventually raising their weapons.
News Center 7 still working to confirm whether those were in fact gunshots that were reported to police.
Chief Biehl said there were reports that someone had fired multiple shots outside of the business, then went inside.
Officers then made forced entry leaving damage behind.
One person who was at the scene told News Center 7 what they saw.
“We were literally barricading ourselves in because it’s private property, we work here, and just trying to keep ourselves safe because we were starting to get rocks thrown at us, we were sitting on the patio, rocks were getting thrown at us and we went inside - he said get away from the windows, we’re all sitting in there, away from the windows, and next thing we know, swat’s pointing their guns at us, telling us to get on the ground," he said.
Chief Biehl said Dayton Police were not able to confirm any reports of gunfire. however WHIO has received messages from people who said they witnessed gunfire outside MJ’s. We are working today to talk with those people and verify their statements with Dayton Police
News Center 7’s John Bedell talked live with two people who were at MJ’s when the police activity began.
They say they were inside the club because they had been planning for a live show. When they heard of the curfew, they say they decided to stay in the safety of the club instead of trying to leave the area. They told News Center 7 that people in the crowd were throwing rocks at the club, so they moved farther inside the club. Click the video at the top of this story to watch their interview.
Then police arrived, and the men say the officers came. They say as officers arrived, the officers broke through the door.
They also said that the officers had thought there was a shooter inside MJ’s, which is why they were frantically trying to get in. The officers left after figuring out there was not a shooter in the club, the men said.
Later, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said there was a call of a shooter firing shots outside MJ’s, then going inside the club. He says that was why officers tried to get in. He says officers could not find evidence that shots had been fired.
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