As the Belleville News-Democrat
chronicles this morning, the first incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. when police were called to Blackmon's Plaza on the report of a "large fight" at the club. Police say that as they approached the building, shots shots rang out. Inside the club, a security guard wrestling with an unruly patron was shot when his gun came loose and ended up in the wrong hands. He was rushed to a hospital in St. Louis. No word on his condition.
While attempting to break up the scene at Blackmon's Plaza, police say they were called to two other fights at nightclubs Club Flava and The Mansion.
Due to budget cuts, East St. Louis had just three officers patrolling the streets early Saturday morning and just couldn't respond to all the incidents. Instead, they called for backup, with some 40 officers from Fairmont City, Caseyville and the Illinois State police eventually arriving to quell the violence.
East St. Louis' nightclubs are no strangers to crime and violence. Two years ago, the St. Clair County sheriff and prosecutor led an effort to get East St. Louis to crack down on the operating hours of its nightclubs -- several of which stay open until 6 a.m. -- after a wake of similar incidents.
For more on that story, check out our 2009 feature: Last Call
East St. Louis police say they were under-staffed and ill-prepared to deal with a wave of violence that swept through the the city's late-night clubs early Saturday.