JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A gunman is on the run after two men were shot and injured just after midnight Monday during a Super Bowl party at Taverna Yamas, a popular hookah lounge on the Southside, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
When officers arrived at the restaurant on Deer Lake Court in the Tinseltown area, they found a 39-year-old man inside the lounge with a gunshot wound in the upper torso. He was transported to UF Health, where he was taken into surgery.
While officers were at the hospital, a 34-year-old man arrived who had also been shot at the hookah lounge, police said.
News4Jax is not naming the victims because the shooter, who was reportedly wearing a gray hoodie, has not been caught or identified.
Detectives investigating what prompted the shooting interviewed witnesses at the scene.
But Young Cash, who organized the event, said he believes it stemmed from a fight that began at another place in the city.
"I've never seen something like this happen. It was an altercation at another establishment that trickled over here because we were having a Super Bowl party. It trickled over from there and those same guys came over here and that's when an incident happened," Cash said.
Cash, a local music artist who has hosted parties at Taverna Yamas for the last two years, said he wants future customers to know he's taking measures to ensure an incident like the one early Monday will never happen again.
"We're going to actually beef up security and do our regular precautions. There are cameras everywhere in here so everyone can be safe," he said. "It was a secluded incident that had nothing to do with anyone at Yamas. It's a family establishment. People come out here throughout the week to have a good time. It's rare, it's real rare and nothing like that will ever happen again, especially at this establishment."
Fortunately, Cash said, the incident was caught on surveillance footage, which News4Jax was unable to obtain.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.