A North Carolina country club turned into a fight club early Sunday morning after a brawl broke out that left one person dead and several others seriously injured.
Deputies responded to the Lakewood Country Club, near Salemburg, N.C., about 2:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving multiple calls reporting gunshots and a fight at the clubhouse, according to the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office.
“Responding deputies discovered several groups fighting upon their arrival and attempted to break up the fights,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said.
In the midst of the chaos, one deputy was cut on his arm, according to CBS affiliate WNCN.
Two people were shot, one person was stabbed and one person was beaten during the altercation, the sheriff’s office said. One victim was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries, and the other victims were transported to a different hospital.
One victim — identified as Anthony King — died around noon, according to NBC affiliate WRAL. The station reported that other victims sustained severe head trauma, as well as stab and gunshot wounds.
Authorities said no arrests have been made.
“The investigation is still in the preliminary stages, however the initial results indicate that the Clubhouse was rented out to a person for a private party,” the statement said.
“The motive for the altercation is not yet known,” the statement added.
Reached by phone, a club spokesman referred all questions to the sheriff’s office.
But club director Curt Pritchard did make an earlier statement, suggesting to WRAL that the altercation was a freak accident.
“We just got unlucky last night, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “We’re proud of this place, and we’re going to continue to put our stamp on it as a safe environment and family oriented.”
Capt. Eric Pope of the sheriff’s office told the station that conditions at the club were ripe for trouble.
“You had close to 100 people here,” he said. “You had alcohol involved, which is always a recipe for disaster when you have that many people and alcohol involved.”
Jerry Faircloth, one of the club’s board members, told WRAL that he lives near the club and heard about one dozen gunshots and screaming coming from the club overnight. He said the club hasn’t hosted violent parties in the past and noted that he expects changes to the club’s rental policy.
“We’ll be more careful about who we rent the clubhouse to,” he told the station.
“Founded in 1966, Lakewood provides a beautiful swimming pool complex, an attractive and spacious Club House for all events and a public 18 hole, par 72, golf course,” a statement on the club’s website reads. “Placed among large long leaf pines populated by amazing fox squirrels, you will find a beautiful setting for your recreational activities. Individual and family memberships are available.”
The clubhouse building is frequently rented out for wedding receptions and gatherings, according to the Sampson Independent.
The crime scene tape had been taken down by noon Sunday, but other “signs of the ruckus” were visible, such as “fresh circular tire marks” in the center of the parking lot, the paper reported.