HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Seven people are recovering after being shot early Wednesday morning during a New Year’s Eve party at Kulture Hookah Bar at 1113 4th Avenue in downtown Huntington.
John Horst owns Purple Earth Comics next door and found out about the shooting when he opened his store the same morning.
“You know, this gets you thinking,” Horst said. “Is this starting something? Is this going to be a cycle? Is it going to continue? Hopefully not.”
The bar advertised their New Year’s Eve party via social media and left an aftermath of drinks, party favors, and blood on the floor.
Police say their initial investigation points to a dispute starting inside the club which then moved outside. Police say more than a dozen shell casings from the bullets fired were scattered inside and outside the bar. Interim Police Chief Ray Cornwell says witnesses tell investigators this wasn’t a random act of violence – it was a dispute between people inside the hookah bar.
While someone was cleaning up the mess left behind another man was on the phone concerned for his sister who lives in the apartments next to the bar.
Mayor Steve Williams also concerned, releasing a statement saying the shooting is “unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” The mayor also stated, “We are waiting for law enforcement investigators to provide more complete information about this incident before we determine the next steps.”
There is no word from police on the condition of the victims, but 13 News was told earlier in the day none are in serious danger.
Officials with the city say they are “aggressively looking into whether or not the hookah bar has all of the required licenses and permits.
If you have any information you can contact the Huntington Police Department’s anonymous tip line at 304-696-4444.