Suspect still at large after mass shooting outside the WOW concert hall hospitalizes six

·5 min read
Eugene Police secure the scene of a shooting outside the WOW Hall in Eugene Friday night.
Eugene Police secure the scene of a shooting outside the WOW Hall in Eugene Friday night.

Eugene police are still searching for the suspect in a mass shooting outside the WOW Hall that sent six people to the hospital Friday night.

Reports of shots fired came in to police at 9:30 p.m. in the middle of a hip-hop concert at the community arts center and music venue, and first responders took five people to the hospital, including one in critical condition. Another person walked into the hospital.

Concertgoer Thomas Hiura, who was at the WOW Hall to watch friends perform, said he was on the sidewalk and saw a man with a handgun shoot at people gathered near the back door of the venue.

“I was leaning down over my bicycle, to grab my mask, and my attention was drawn by really loud gunfire,” Hiura said. “He shot more than 10 rounds, and I thought about charging him.”

Hiura described the scene as a “madhouse” with people shrieking, running away and trying to get out of the building.

“I believe I saw blood on the gravel,” he said, noting he saw the suspect, who he described as a young man, run down a street after shooting.

Police have described the suspect as a male wearing a hoodie but didn't have more detailed information as of Saturday afternoon. The department has set up a dedicated tip line for the shooting at 541-682-5162, and the FBI is assisting in the investigation.

One person was in critical condition and undergoing surgery Friday night, Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner said at about midnight. That person remained in critical condition Saturday afternoon.

Three of the others' injuries were between "serious and critical," while another's were minor, according to Eugene-Springfield Fire spokesman Mike Caven.

Those people were in stable condition Saturday.

All but one of the people injured — two females and four males — are from out of town and appear to have traveled to Eugene for the concert, police said.

The WOW Hall, a community arts center that hosts performances as well as workshops, lectures and other classes, canceled all classes until further notice.

Skinner said this is "one of the highest-profile shootings" in the history of Eugene. The crowd was massive when police arrived, Skinner said, adding that the male suspect was reportedly wearing a hoodie and seen running westbound on Eighth Avenue.

"It was a tough crowd to manage, it was very chaotic," he said.

There's no indication yet whether the shooting was random or targeted, Skinner said.

Witness statements will be critical in solving the case, Skinner said, but Friday night "there was not anyone who was willing to cooperate or come forward and give us any kind of witness statements" or provide video or audio if they took any.

"We're hoping that with a little bit of time … that they'd be willing to come forward and talk to us a little bit about what happened," Skinner said during a news conference. "And really, that's how we're going to solve this, is we're going to solve this through good investigation, evidence collection and with witnesses being willing to come forward and share with us what they saw and potentially what evidence they may have captured on cell phones."

Five ambulances, four fire crews and two fire chief vehicles responded, Caven said. Eugene police and other law enforcement agencies responded, along with Eugene Springfield Fire. The scene was closed the rest of the night while police investigated. EPD is asking anyone with tips or footage of the incident to call the tip line at 541-682-5162.

Friday night’s show featured hip-hop artists Lil Bean, Zay Bang, and others.

WOW Hall's interim executive director Deb Maher and board chair Jaci Guerena issued a statement on the venue and community center's website thanking the first responders who "came so quickly to ensure everyone's safety and administer first aid."

They thanked people for supporting the WOW Hall. To their knowledge, staff and volunteers are "safe and accounted for."

So far, they don't know much, but did hear gunshots in the back parking lot.

"This is unprecedented at the WOW Hall. The police are investigating," the statement reads. "If we receive additional information, we will try to make it available."

Savelle Tha Native, a Eugene rapper, was about to go on stage when the shooter started firing, according to a Facebook Live video.

"Four of my people just got shot," Savelle said in the live stream, describing seeing friends down and blood everywhere, adding he and others were "15 seconds from not being good."

Watch the livestream: Warning -- it contains descriptions of gunshot victims and profanity. It's available here.

Hiura, a member of the Eugene hip-hop scene, said it was heartbreaking to have a shooting at the historic venue.

"With everything the performing arts community has had to endure, even before the pandemic, trying to make it as musicians and people who enrich society, it's really hard for me to see this happen to Eugene hip-hop," Hiura said.

Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis said the city is "shocked and saddened" by the shooting.

"There is no place in Eugene for this kind of violence," Vinis said in a statement. "I speak for everyone in our city when I say we are stunned by this unprecedented violent incident."

Vinis expressed her hope that all six victims recover and sent "deepest wishes to their families for strength at this time."

Louis Krauss covers breaking news for The Register-Guard. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @LouisKraussNews.

Contact photographer Chris Pietsch at, or follow him on Twitter @ChrisPietsch and Instagram @chrispietsch. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Police looking for suspect in mass shooting outside the WOW Hall

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