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Police arrest man in shooting at Cedar Rapids nightclub
Victims were celebrating birthday of a mutual friend
CEDAR RAPIDS — A suspect in a shooting early Sunday inside a downtown nightclub that killed two people celebrating a mutual friends’s birthday was arrested Monday on a second-degree murder charge and other counts, police announced.
Timothy Ladell Rush, 32, faces charges of second-degree murder, willful injury, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, reckless use of a firearm and possession of a firearm as a felon.
He was taken to the Linn County Jail, where he was held for now without bail. A criminal complaint outlining details of the charges was not available Monday evening and police said they had no more comment other than to announce his arrest.
Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman told reporters Sunday investigators believe two gunman were involved in the attack at the Taboo Nightclub and Lounge, 415 Third St. SE., that also injured 10 people, at least one critically.
On Monday, police also identified victims of the double homicide as Michael Valentine, 25, and Nicole Owens, 35, both of Cedar Rapids. Valentine and Owens were at the club celebrating the birthday of a shared friend, La’Tazia Mac.
“It’s a living nightmare. I feel sick and guilty, and it’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life,” Mac said in an interview with The Gazette.
Mac said she had known Valentine since they were in eight grade, and she’d known Owens and Owens’ family her whole life.
Valentine had some difficulties in his life, Mac said, but he was working on overcoming them. He served some time in prison for burglary and gun charges, but since he was released on parole in 2018, he’d been working hard to turn his life around, Mac said.
“He worked three jobs and had the brightest future ahead of him,” Mac said. “He was doing his best to make it work with his second chance at life and he was robbed of it.”
Valentine had a son who was his inspiration, according to Mac.
Owens was also a hard worker, Mac said. She ran a clothing business with her sister, Denise Allison, and had three daughters. Sunday was her oldest daughter’s 19th birthday.
Allison said she started the business with Owens about two years ago. While running the business, Owens also worked other jobs and had just been hired full-time at Nordstrom Rack.
“She was one of my biggest sources of support, one of the reasons why I even (started the business) in the first place,” Allison said. “She took care of her girls, and just worked, worked, worked.”
Owens was the oldest of five children, and Allison said Owens often felt like a second mother.
“She always took care of us. She was always loving and sweet to everybody. She made a lot of friends. Everybody just loved her,” Allison said.
Owens and her siblings grew up in Chicago, and Owens moved to Cedar Rapids about five years ago, Allison said. Other members of the family followed, and with the news of Owens’ death they’ve come together to mourn.
“Everybody’s still shocked. It’s still new to everybody. We’re still trying to process it all. … I guess we’re still trying to hang onto hope,” Allison said. “We want that club held accountable, because the situation should have never taken place. She should be able to be safe in those types of environments.”
The club owner, Mod Williams, has said he’s doing everything he can to cooperate with the police after the shooting.
“It’s an extremely disturbing thing that happened and currently I’m just being as cooperative as I can to help the police,” Williams said.
Police said Sunday they had not established a motive for the shooting, but told reporters they believe the shooting was targeted to one of the victims. There were between 100 and 150 people in the club when the shooting happened.
Shortly before the shooting, a man was arrested outside the club at 1:23 a.m. on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a Cedar Rapids arrest report. Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks told The Gazette the man arrested was not involved in the shooting.
But while officers were on the street outside Taboo finishing the arrest, they saw an “exodus” of people fleeing out the front door. Police went inside and found the casualties.
The assailants may have fled with the rush of people running, Jerman told reporters.
Authorities urged people in the club at the time of the shooting or who had knowledge of the incident that’s helpful to police to call the Cedar Rapids Police Department at (319) 286-5491 or Linn County Crime Stoppers at 1-(800) 272-7463.
The emergency response
Officers transported some of the wounded victims to local hospitals in squad cars. Two were transported by ambulance, according to Keith Rippy, executive director of the Linn Area Ambulance service.
Rippy said when an emergency call like this comes in, the Area Ambulance shift supervisor responds to the scene and calls nearby hospitals to let them know to prepare because there has been a mass casualty event.
The supervisor then activates the mass casualty incident protocol, which involves calling in extra staff and preparing equipment to prepare for the aftereffects of the shooting.
In this case, since the shooting happened relatively close to both Mercy Medical Center and UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital, the main focus of the first responders was getting victims to a hospital as quickly as possible.
Area Ambulance has a mass casualty trailer that supplies extra equipment and supplies to deal with several injuries, but Rippy said the trailer was not needed in this case.
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