Witness describes chaotic scene during shooting at Thelma's restaurant in Salisbury


Thelma’s Down Home Cooking in Salisbury (credit: Zachary Tucker/WGHP)

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SALISBURY, N.C. -- A local DJ described the chaotic scene after shots were fired during a private party at a Salisbury restaurant overnight.

Six people were shot at Thelma’s Down Home Cooking just after midnight Sunday, police say.

One of the businesses that was closing for the night on Saturday tells FOX8 it’s not unusual for Thelma’s to host a private event. They say it’s usually rented to an older crowd, but last night the parking lot was quickly filling up with college kids.

“Once it happened, one shot let off, I cut off the music and dropped down to shield myself for my life,” Sumarayon Smith said.

Smith was DJ’ing the after hours event at Thelma’s Down Home Cooking in Salisbury Saturday night.

“I just heard maybe two or three that’s all,” Smith said.

Once shots rang out, he fled along with the crowd, abandoning his gear and cellphone.

Strobe lights were still flashing Sunday in the boarded-up restaurant.

“The glass on the ground. The door looked like it was just demolished on the outside and on the inside of the building, so that was pretty strange. Nerve wracking a little bit because you never know when people might want to come back or if somebody might want to meet up and retaliate in the area,” said Arnold Stoner, who works at the GQ Menswear behind the restaurant.

A wall separates the two businesses.

“I just wanted to make sure there were no holes anywhere, but it looks okay. Everything looks okay,” Stoner said. “Just kind of be careful and keep an eye out on things. But other than that, I think God handles most things, so I don’t worry too much,” Stoner said.

Salisbury police have yet to release details on a suspect.

A police spokesperson tells FOX8 most of the victims drove themselves to the hospital.

One person was shot in the chest and is expected to survive.

The restaurant was closed Sunday. It’s unclear when it will reopen.

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