Police detain security guards in shooting outside Phoenix bar; victim critical

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on May 19, 2014 at 6:39 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 21 at 11:29 AM

Map: 4270 W. Thomas Road

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Second shooting in two months

PHOENIX -- Police have detained two private security officers in connection with a shooting outside a Phoenix bar that put one man in the hospital Monday.

It happened at about 2 a.m. outside The Funny Farm at 43rd Avenue and Thomas Road.

Investigators have been on the scene all morning, trying to piece together events leading up to the physical fight that precipitated the shooting.

The bar was closing so there were several people in the parking lot when the fight broke out and the situation escalated.

According to police, a patron got into an argument with one of the security guards. A third person tried to intervene in an attempt to defuse the situation. Police said the security guard then fired several shots.

Yesenia Amavizza heard the gunfire, but did not realize at first that somebody had been wounded.

"I thought it was in the air because I didn't hear any screaming or anything," she told 3TV's Jill Galus. "Five minutes later, I hear the screaming."

Amavizza said she turned around and saw the victim on the ground.

Police are questioning a number of witnesses.

Detectives also are talking to the two security guards, both of whom left the scene immediately after the shooting. Police are trying to determine why they left rather than remaining at the scene and calling the police.

At this point, police have not arrested anybody.

The victim, who has not been identified, reportedly suffered life-threatening injuries. At last check, he was in critical but stable condition.

This is not the first such shooting outside The Funny Farm. There was a similar incident on March 17, just two months ago.

The victim in that case survived. Police said at the time that witnesses were not cooperating with detectives.

"There have been incidents at this particular location that we are concerned about," Phoenix police Officers James Holmes said after Monday's shooting. "We don't always get the cooperation that we want when these incidents occur.

"We are hoping that we'll get some cooperation from these folks today to figure out exactly what happened and why it happened," he continued. "But it has been a problem, and our officers will say it's been a problem at this location. We hope that we can get this fixed."

According to The Funny Farm's Facebook page, the "local Latino bar" is open 10 a.m.-2 a.m. 365 days a year and has been in business since 2005.

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