Five people were shot, three killed, after a rap concert at an after-hours club in southwest Houston.
About 2,000 people gathered at Hottyz gentlemen's club on Westpark Drive and Ace Street to see Houston rapper Trae. When the concert finished, hundreds were in the parking lot when someone started shooting shortly after 3:15 a.m.
Detectives said it appeared the gunman fired in one direction, spraying the crowd with 20 bullets.
Four men and a woman were hit, including the rapper, Trae, whose name is Frazier Thompson.
Two of the men and a woman died at the scene. One of those killed was 32-year-old Carlos Dorsey. His street name was "Dinky."
"If you knew Dinky, you knew he wasn't nothing but love," friend Demesha Watson said. "Nothing was negative about him whatsoever."
The names of the other two people who died have not been released. Police said the woman killed was an innocent bystander.
Trae and another man were taken to the hospital. An official said Trae was shot in the shoulder and has been treated and released from Ben Taub Hospital. He is expected to recover.
"He's real known in Houston, and it's real messed up cause it happened and I don't know why. There's people crying," witness John Esquivel said. "We were just outside chilling, waiting. Everybody was talking, enjoying the night, and all of a sudden, we heard about 20 shots. Then I look up and a girl is dying. She was alive when I got here, but when police arrived, she was dead."
That woman was Erica Dotson, 29. Her family told KPRC Local 2 she leaves behind three young daughters.
"They will have to live without their mom all of their lives," said Sylvia Price, the victim's aunt. "It's too much, she didn't deserve to be shot down like this. She was shot multiple times in the chest."
Detectives said one of the survivors left the hospital and returned to the scene to help homicide detectives.
The gunman escaped.
"There were literally hundreds of people here," HPD spokesman Victor Senties said. "Somebody who was here had to have seen or heard something."
Houston police said they need help from witnesses to identify a suspect.
"A lot of time on the street they say snitches get stitches," HPD Investigator Kevin Carr said. "How does that help anybody out? It doesn't. We can't do our job properly if people don't get all the information they need to know. All you've got to do is reach out and we will help you. We're not going to leave you hanging."
Investigators said they were looking at surveillance video to see if anything was caught on camera.
A motive for the shooting is not yet known, but police said it may have been in retaliation to a shooting at the Breakers club in southwest Houston that occurred in November. That killing has not yet been solved.
In 2008, Trae Tha Truth was awarded by the mayor of Houston, Bill White, and council member Peter Brown with his own day, Trae Day, in honor of his outstanding work within the community. It was the first time the honor was extended to a rap artist.
Trae Day was celebrated July 22, 2008.
"Trae is the heart of the community," said Tiffany of Angels by Nature. "We've done what we've could to give back to the city. That's really Trae's message: 'I'm here. I'm doing for the city and I'm here to be a productive member of society.'"
In 2009, four people were wounded in a shooting at one of Trae's concerts. Investigators said they think it was gang-related.
Hottyz will be closed for a week. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission issued an emergency suspension of its liquor license.
Wednesday night the leader of the New Black Panther Nation, Quannel X, gathered with some of the victim's family and friends. He lead the group in prayer then sent out a plea to the community.
"For those of you who don't want to say anything but saw exactly what took place, think about (the victim's) children," Quannel X said. "There are too many people out here who saw what happened, you know exactly what happened."
Anyone with information is asked to call the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.