NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. – Patrons at Pete's Bar said they are thankful that no one was seriously hurt when a man fired at least eight shots late Sunday night outside the popular Neptune Beach bar.
The Neptune Beach police administration was off for the Presidents Day holiday and have not released any additional information about the incident, but there was no indication that an arrest was made.
Witnesses told News4Jax that a man dressed in preppy clothes and driving a white Mercedes fired at people and at the ground. Three people were hit by shrapnel from the gunfire, but only one required hospitalization.
Bar patrons said this was the first time the shooter had ever been seen inside the bar. They said he ordered a drink, paid with a $100 bill, but was soon asked to leave.
"He came in ordered one drink, and was being inappropriate and was asked to leave," Pete's manager John Whittingslow said.
Whittingslow said the customer started to get out of hand at a pool table. He left when he was asked to leave, and tried to come back in 20 minutes later. When the doorman wouldn't let him enter, he got upset.
"He took a couple of steps back, reached under his shirt, pulled out his gun and shot into the ground," Whittingslow said.
He said the bystanders were injured when the bullets sent fragments of the sidewalk flying.
"I believe they were just walking outside and got ricocheted by brick fragments," Whittingslow said. "One of them did go to the hospital, and it was our biggest concern. We got notification it was an injury to a foot."
Witnesses said that after the man fired shots into the sidewalk, he took four more shots at two men who were chasing him, but no was was hit.
"A person with a semiautomatic gun running the streets, firing randomly. It's crazy," Whittingslow said.
Witnesses saw the suspect jump into a white Mercedes-Benz parked in front of the Neptune Beach police station and drive off.
Residents of the area said they believe the gunman is mentally unstable and needs to be caught before he kills someone.
"This country is going to get where everyone is packing a gun, and there's going to be more and more shootouts," said Pete's Bar patron Tom Trechel. "We've got a lot of people out there who need help who don't accept it."
Anyone with information is asked to call Neptune Beach police at 904-270-2413.