Two injured after man shoots gun inside Benicia bar following argument

BENICIA, Calif. (KGO) -- Police are searching for a man accused of shooting two people inside a Benicia bar following an argument likely over not being served alcohol early Sunday morning.

At around 1:30 a.m., a 911 caller said a man armed with a gun was inside the Bottom of the Fifth bar at 498 Military E.
Once at the scene, officers found a Benicia man and a Texas man, both 45 years old, suffering from gunshot wounds. Both victims were taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, police said. One is still in the hospital and the other was released.

Witnesses told officers a verbal argument had occurred at the bar before the man brandished a gun and fired it. "When something like this happens, it's not normal, shocking really," one man said.

Regulars say the bar is the place where everybody knows your name, but no one knows who this man is. "We've never seen him before," one man said.

He showed up Sunday morning around closing time. "Our bouncer noticed he came in, asked for his ID, and as he was asking for his ID he told him: 'We weren't serving anymore drinks,' so he pulled a gun out and pointed it at everyone in the bar," bar manager Samuel Adams said.

Surveillance video shows the man pointing a gun at the bartender. The woman is seen ducking behind the bar. The gunman then pushes his way passed surprised bar patrons. Then, a customer wearing a baseball cap confronts the armed man.

Off camera, two men were shot and wounded. "There were some pretty brave people who tried to stop him," customer Alison Gude said. "I was brought to tears because you could see the terror on everybody's face as the guy was waving the gun around."

Two ceiling tiles inside the bar were shot out. The suspect ran before police showed up. "We're hoping the community will come forward, anyone with information about this incident, or anyone who was there," Benicia Police Department spokesperson Irma Widjojo said.

Owners and customers say there's never been a shooting inside the Bottom of the Fifth. "This is a very, very friendly place," a man said.

Officers were unable to locate the suspect when they arrived, but they did recover shell casings from the scene as well as video of the shooting, police said.

The gunman was described as a Hispanic man with a short, heavy build, wearing a dark beanie, a dark hooded sweatshirt and baggy gray sweatpants, according to police.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact Benicia police at (707) 745-4311 or the Solano Crime Stoppers at (770) 644-7867.

Callers have the option to remain anonymous.

Bay City News contributed to this story.
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