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story.lead_photo.caption Kentrell Gwynn - Photo by Pulaski County sheriff's office

Court records obtained Monday show that a bodyguard for a Memphis rapper told police he panicked after gunfire started at the Power Ultra Lounge last summer and began shooting at people running toward the club's stage.

Gunfire threw the crowded Little Rock nightclub into chaos on July 1 and left 25 people shot. Another three people were injured in the rush to flee the scene.

The 26-year-old bodyguard, Kentrell Dominique Gwynn, said he fired his weapon during the incident, even though police say there was no evidence to suggest anyone was firing at the stage where the rapper was performing, according to the court documents.

He faces 10 counts of aggravated assault, one for each shot he's accused of firing. Gwynn was the bodyguard for Memphis rapper Ricky Hampton, who is also known as "Finese2Tymes."

Victims of Little Rock mass shooting

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Little Rock police have also arrested 19-year-old Tyler Clay Jackson in the nightclub shooting. Police say Jackson, who is accused of being the initial shooter, wounded at least three people at the nightclub. The teenager told police in an interview that he fired about 10 shots during the incident, court records show.

The nightclub shooting accented an already violent year for Little Rock. Arkansas' capital city saw the highest number of homicides in more than a decade and saw the number of nonfatal gunshot victims rise for at least three years in the row.

In the aftermath of the shooting, local, state and federal authorities formed a task force to target gangs and violent crime in Arkansas' capital city. The task force is one of several local and federal efforts to calm violence in Little Rock.

Little Rock police have said from the outset that the shooting involved rival gangs, but the department has not disclosed additional information on which gangs were involved. Court records released last week show witnesses at the club heard an argument and people yelling "Crip" and "Bloods" before the gunfire began at the crowded nightclub.

In the affidavit, one shooting witness told police she heard "someone yell something about 'Monroe' street gang affiliation" just before the shooting began.

Little Rock police have said previously that a street gang known as the Monroe Street Hustlers has been tied to multiple Little Rock shootings, including one that killed a 2-year-old toddler in 2016. That killing, according to the department, escalated a long-running feud between members of the Monroe Street Hustlers and the Murder Mafia gang.

Weeks after the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, Gwynn gave a statement to Little Rock investigators, court records say. He told police he was hired security for the rapper and that he was at the club during the incident.

Gwynn told police he had his Taser drawn as he led Hampton onto the club's stage for the performance.

"Mr. Gwynn stated when he first heard the gunshots from the crowd, he grabbed his pistol from its holster, then panicked and started shooting at the guys running towards the stage," according to the affidavit.

Gwynn also reported that at some point during the gunfire he was grazed by a bullet, but police noted in the court documents that his injuries "did not appear consistent with bullet grazes."

"Mr. Gwynn does not know if he hit anyone when he was shooting because he blacked out," according to the court documents.

The affidavit said there is no evidence to suggest anybody was firing at the stage, but authorities did find multiple strikes on the dance floor in front of the stage, which were consistent with bullet strikes.

Shell casings retrieved from the stage matched a .40-caliber pistol found with Gwynn during a traffic stop in Alabama the day after the shooting, according to the court records.

Days after the shooting, Little Rock detectives spoke with Hampton at the Jefferson County jail in Birmingham, Ala. The rapper said Gwynn was armed with a handgun when they entered the club, the court documents say.

Hampton told police the shooting started in the crowd and he did not believe the gunfire was intended or aimed at the stage. According to the affidavit, Hampton said Gwynn grabbed him after the gunfire began and pushed him into a corner.

"Mr. Hampton stated he saw Mr. Gwynn pointing his gun at the crowd while shielding him but he did not see him shoot," according to the affidavit. The rapper told authorities they both ran from the club, then drove back to Memphis.

Multiple witnesses reported seeing Gwynn armed with a pistol inside the club. Gwynn, who was arrested in July, also faces multiple federal charges.

The court records obtained Monday outline the scope and police response to the shooting. All patrol units in the city were dispatched to the club, and officers, along with detectives, responded to at least five area hospitals for gunshot victims and people injured from the Power Ultra Lounge, the records show.

One witness told police he had to jump out of the second-floor window to escape the gunshots, the affidavit says.

A Section on 01/23/2018

Print Headline: Fired at crowd, rapper's ally says; Bodyguard tells of his panic in LR

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