Two young people were wounded early Thursday outside an Anaheim nightclub for teen-agers when a gunman randomly sprayed at least seven shots from a pistol into a crowd of about 300 milling around the parking lot.
Most in the crowd hit the ground outside Zzapp's, which had just closed, or ran inside the nightclub to escape the gunfire that erupted shortly after 1 a.m. But a 15-year-old Anaheim girl and a 17-year-old Signal Hill youth were wounded.
The unidentified pair were taken by Anaheim paramedics to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where they were treated and released. The youth was shot in the upper arm, while the girl suffered a superficial flesh wound in the chest, Anaheim Police Detective Robert Hammaker said.
Police said they do not believe that the shooting outside Zzapp's involved gang members or was racially motivated. They remained baffled, however, about what might have provoked the shooting.
The club, which offers live entertainment and is frequented by youths from 16 to 21, does not serve alcohol. But there is little control over what goes on outside the nightspot, police said.
"Any time you have a large number of teen-agers getting together like this, you can have trouble," Hammaker said. "You can control the people inside, but not the people outside. That's the problem with a place like this."
John Schroeder, co-owner of the 3 1/2-year-old club along with his wife, said the gunman sprayed a portion of the crowd 20
to 30 yards wide. "So there's no way he could have been aiming at a specific person. . . . (He) just blindly started firing from about 100 yards away."
"It almost would have felt better had it been" a gang shooting, Schroeder added. "At least with drive-by shootings there's a target, but this guy was just out to kill people he didn't even know."
Schroeder said a patron outside the club reported a man with a gun to security personnel. The guards, who are unarmed, called police, but the assailant began shooting just seconds later, long before help could arrive, he said.
The gunman ran behind another nearby building and then drove off in a small, gray, four-wheel-drive vehicle occupied by another person.
About 800 people had attended a special promotional night at the club, which is normally not open on Wednesdays, Schroeder said. The nightspot closed at 1 p.m., but a number of people were still standing outside socializing when the gunman approached.
"If it was in L.A., I could understand it; you get kind of used to it," the nightclub owner said. Then, in describing the shooting: "He didn't say anything. Not a word. He just opened fire."