Overnight melee at Diplomat leaves two injured


    Gates Police continue to investigate after a melee overnight involving fights and gunfire. (WHAM photo)

    Gates, N.Y. (WHAM) - Two people were taken to the hospital after a large fight broke out at the Diplomat Banquet Center overnight.

    Gates police said a melee broke out inside the building, located at 1956 Lyell Avenue, around 1:45 a.m. Sunday and spilled into the parking lot. Police Chief Jim VanBrederode said about 400 people were at the Diplomat when the fight broke out.

    Cell phone video of a reggaetón concert Saturday night showed people dancing moments before mayhem interrupted the celebration.

    Dominique Raglend was inside the Diplomat Banquet Center working as a promoter. She said the event was meant to bring the Latin community together, enjoy music and celebrate the new year, but things quickly took a turn for the worse.

    “It first started off where it was just two people and then it just grew,” Raglend said. “It was a lot of yelling, screaming, obviously fighting, and then once the macing started everyone started running outside. It was one of those things where one person ruined it for everybody. Everybody was having a great time. Everyone had a smile on their face.”

    The fight spilled out into the parking lot after Raglend said event security started spraying mace.

    “There were fumes everywhere,” she said. “Everyone started coughing trying to get out through the back door, side doors trying to get safe.”

    Minutes later she said she heard two pops.

    “I wasn’t sure what it was until somebody started screaming, somebody is shooting and I got underneath the table,” said Raglend.

    A woman who lives nearby heard them too. She said it was scary.

    “I heard people screaming, so I called the police and while I was on the phone with the police I heard about six gunshots,” the woman said.

    According to Gates Police, at least five shots were fired inside and outside the building. Some of the rounds struck the front foyer area. They believe there were two shooters. No one was hit by gunfire, but two people were hurt during the fights.

    Police said patrons began throwing bottles of alcohol, one of which struck a 26-year-old woman in the head. She was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment.

    A 22-year-old man was knocked unconscious in the parking lot during a fistfight. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital. Police said he is not cooperating with their investigation.

    A Monroe County Sheriff K-9 was helping with the investigation Sunday afternoon.

    "I’m glad everybody is safe," Raglend said. "I’m glad we were able to work together to get out safely."

    No one has been arrested. Anyone with information on the shooters is asked to call Gates Police.

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