Milwaukee man escapes Mexico nightclub shooting

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 20:53:06-05

A Milwaukee man escapes a deadly nightclub shooting in Mexico that left five dead and a dozen injured on Monday.

Patrick Dowell was on vacation in Playa Del Carmen for the BPM Music Festival. In a Facetime interview with TODAY’S TMJ4, Dowell said he’s now thankful to be alive after a close encounter.

"We were all in the Blue Parrot just enjoying it, learning music, listening, dancing," he said.

Dowell said he had been inside the nightclub moments before gunfire erupted, but left because some of his friends decided to call it a night. Dowell walked them home and was headed back with a friend.

"All of a sudden, Bobby hears some gun shots," said Dowell.

Dowell says he didn't believe his friend, Bobby, at first. Then their fears became reality less than a block away.

"Finally someone says 'shots, shots!’” Dowell recalled. “So we knew Bobby was right (and) we continued moving forward."

Police say the gunman fired twenty rounds after he wasn't allowed into the music festival with a gun. Four men died in the shooting including three security guards.

"All of a sudden the crowd panics, it becomes a stampede," said Dowell.

NBC News reports an American woman was trampled and killed as hundreds of club-goers rushed the streets.

"The first thing that came to mind was the people I love, my girlfriend, my family so as soon as I feel somewhat secure I text them I'm OK," said Dowell.

Dowell said he and his group are coming home heartbroken for the victims.

"This was supposed to be a festival; this was supposed to be fun,” said Dowell. “Unfortunately there are people out there that don't understand that and ruin things for perfectly good people."

A manhunt continued Tuesday for the gunman, who managed to escape the scene of the shooting.

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