When planning a Sweet 16 party — or any party, for that matter — there are dozens of details to take into account: location, food, beverages, music, entertainment and of course, invitations for everyone the teenager knows. Whether they are the parents or professional party-planners, anyone organizing such an event naturally wants everything to be just perfect.
Unfortunately, however, one detail at a Sweet 16 party in Bridgeport, CT could not be accounted for. Tragedy struck at an event on Nov. 12, and five party attendants were shot. All of the gunshot wounds were to the victims’ extremities. One victim was reported to be in serious condition with a bullet wound to the leg, but was expected to get better. Fortunately, none of the injuries were life-threatening.
The party was taking place at Circolo Sportivo, a club on Park Avenue. Around 10:40 p.m., a fight broke out in the parking lot, into which party goers had spilled. There were roughly 300 attendants in total, all ranging between mid-teen and 23 years of age.
Witnesses said that multiple firearms were presented during the fight. At least two assailants discharged their weapons near the street, as well as in the parking lot.
The party’s capacity far exceeded the number approved by the club in the first place. With a legal maximum capacity of 172 people, the Sweet 16 party alone nearly doubled the club’s legal attendance.
“This was so preventable,” said Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez.
Perez said that although the party was alcohol-free, the club’s management should have hired off-duty police officers to help with the building’s security.
“They crashed the party. They were not invited,” Perez said of the assailants. “It’s a good thing they are poor shooters.”
One club member, who declined to give his name, said that he was upset by the events that unfolded that night.
“This is our social home. But I guess it’s the same old story. It’s crazy. How do these kids get these guns?”
Another member defended the club, saying that it was not the management’s fault that the party got out of hand, and that the kids probably shared the invitation on Facebook, prompting more people to show up than had been invited personally.
So far, there are no suspects in custody. The suspects arrived in a car with New York plates. That is the only detail that has been released so far.