1 dead, 2 injured in shooting at Blue Martini in Fort Lauderdale

Police say fight led to shooting inside bar at Galleria mall

By Ian Margol - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - One person is dead and two others were injured Wednesday night in a shooting at Blue Martini in Fort Lauderdale.

Police said the shooting occurred shortly before midnight inside the bar at the Galleria mall on Sunrise Boulevard.

"We were playing and we heard the bangs really loud -- pop, pop, pop," Eddie Bustamante said.

Bustamante was performing with his band when the shooting broke out.

"Initially we all thought it was our drummer, but as soon as we found out it wasn't, all of us just dashed out to the parking lot as fast as we possibly could," he said. 

A man, later identified as Arnold Person, 43, of Miami, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two others were taken to Broward Health Medical Center. Person would have turned 44 on Thursday. 

Bustamante said while they were on stage they could tell the noises were coming from their left, which was the VIP section. He said the people who were there had been celebrating.

"They actually requested a few songs," he said. "They were good, fun-loving people who were having a great time."

Police said an altercation inside led to the shooting.

The body of a shooting victim is removed from Blue Martini in Fort Lauderdale.

Police said one person was taken into custody for questioning, but no arrests have been made. 

"We never thought it would actually happen while we were performing," Bustamante said. "It was just very surreal."

Police spent the early morning hours of Thursday gathering evidence from the scene.

Family members of the victims gathered at the hospital, telling Local 10 News they had been at Blue Martini for a celebration of life for a relative who recently died. They said someone bumped another person, prompting the fight.

Chairs could be seen on their sides next to shattered glass and crime scene tape was draped over tables with drinks left behind by patrons who left in a hurry.

A spokesman for the Galleria said the mall would remain open.

"We are committed to the safety and security of our valued guests," a statement from Blue Martini said. "This isolated incident is the result of an altercation that took a tragic turn. We applaud the Fort Lauderdale police for their quick response, which led to one suspect in custody. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased victim and two others who were injured."

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