It remains unknown if the shooting at the Las Vegas Lounge was motivated by anti-LGBTQ bias. The two-decades-old bar bills itself as a home to “Las Vegas’ transsexual community, its admirers, and its supporters.”
General Manager Jennifer Hallie tells INTO that at 5:10 am, someone from outside the bar fired shots into the bar, injuring Callie Lou-Bee Haywood while she was sitting with a drink. Haywood, a black trans woman and fixture at the Lounge, lamented the lack of media coverage for the shooting on her Facebook, as previously covered by INTO.
The shooting drew almost no initial media coverage. Las Vegas media outlets have since picked up the story but not all have identified the Las Vegas Lounge as transgender bar or a possible target of anti-LGBTQ violence.
A story by ABC 13 identified Las Vegas Lounge as the target of the shooting, but did not mention that it served the trans community.
Haywood suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, shattering some bones, according to her Facebook. A GoFundMe fundraiser to help with her surgery expenses has already exceeded its $2,000 goal.
Hallie says that despite rumors and false media reports saying otherwise, the shooter had not been asked to leave earlier in the night.
“It was very random. It was just unexpected,” Hallie says. “There had been no contact with him whatsoever.”
Hallie says her staff is cooperating with police, but they do not yet know of a motive for the shooting.
“Of course if this is a hate crime we’ll be the first ones to scream at the top of our our lungs,” she says, but added that she wants to give police time to investigate.
According to a Los Vegas Metropolitan Police Department statement, Las Vegas Police responded to a call at 5:15 am on February 23 of multiple shots being fired from a parking lot. Officers determined that the suspect arrived on foot.
“As the suspect walked by the lounge, he pulled out a firearm and shot into the business without warning,” the statement says. “There were multiple people inside the business during the incident but no one saw the suspect. The suspect ran from the scene prior to officers’ arrival.”
Initial media reports suggested that there multiple victims from the incident. Hallie says Haywood was the only person injured. Police statements also confirm just one injury.
In video footage released by police, an individual is seen walking up the street in white pants and a long brown coat, theirface largely obscured. The footage does not show shooting, but what appears to be surveillance possibly prior to the incident. Police have also released photos.
The Las Vegas Lounge is open 24 hours and has continued operation, says Hallie.
“We appreciate everyone’s support,” Hallie tells INTO. “We’re still here. Twenty years and nothing like this has happened. It’s big statement on where we are in the world right now that someone could very easily acquire a firearm.”