MIDVALE — A nightclub brawl escalated into a potentially deadly situation Friday night when a man outside the club began firing shots, which ricocheted and injured three club patrons.

Police are still looking for the gunman and a second man who attempted to get into the club without the required memberships, said Midvale detective Sgt. John Salazar.

"We're lucky nobody was killed," Salazar said.

Witnesses told police that a fight broke out about 11:45 p.m., shortly after a white male in his late 20s or early to mid-30s, about 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, entered the Three Alarm Saloon, 7273 S. State.

Another man, about the same age as the first, ran back to his vehicle and grabbed a gun. Witnesses described the second man as a white male with a shaved head and a goatee, about 5-foot-8 with a slight build.

The smaller man pulled out a 9 mm handgun, Salazar said, and began shooting at the club at random. Bullets ricocheted off the floor, a pool table and the walls, subsequently hitting the three victims, said club owner Jack Carlton.

Between eight and nine shots were fired before the man ran out of ammunition, Salazar said. Bullets grazed one man's shoulder, hit another man in the ankle and another stray bullet bruised a woman in the chest. None of the wounds was life-threatening.

The two men fled the bar together before police arrived at the scene. Officers from several law-enforcement agencies assisted with a search of the area but did not find the men.

Salazar said one witness recognized one of the men, providing police with a lead. Carlton said the man had been there before, "looking for his wife, who is a dancer next door."

"We stopped them before they ever really got into the bar," he said, adding that the club was fairly empty at the time of the shooting.

Carlton said police aren't called to the Three Alarm Saloon very often.

"We're not a rowdy bar, we're really not," he said.

The two male victims were taken to area hospitals; the female victim was treated by paramedics at the scene and released. The man with a shoulder wound was released from the hospital early Saturday morning, while the other required minor surgery and was later released, Salazar said.

Police are requesting that anyone with information about the shooting or the whereabouts of the assailants call 801-840-4000.


Contributing: Wendy Leonard


E-mail: jpage@desnews.com