PORTLAND – The man who took out the shooter at the Mystic Gentleman’s Club in Portland last weekend said he fired after watching his wounded friend fall to the ground.
Brian Rizzo, the club's bouncer, was hit by the gunfire at the front door when the gunman opened fire Saturday night. Patron Gonzalo Zamora-Hernandez, 31, and waitress Nichole Procter, 27, were also wounded.
John Baer also works as a bouncer at the club. In an interview on the Lars Larson show Tuesday, he said he followed the suspect outside, pulled out his own pistol and shot him.
"By the time I heard the second shot [inside the club] and turned around, my friend was already on the ground," Baer said.
Baer's friend Rizzo, 26, had to be put into a medically-induced coma at a Portland hospital as he struggles with life-threatening injuries. The other two victims were treated and released with less serious injuries.
Investigators believe Thomas Elliott Hjelmeland, 43, fired the gun in the club. He remains in critical condition at a Portland hospital. Police said he will face serious charges once he's released from the hospital.
Workers at the strip club said Hjelmeland was denied entry earlier in the evening, because of belligerent behavior and racist comments. They said he returned half an hour later, armed with a gun and wearing a scary Halloween mask.
Hjelmeland has been in trouble with the law before. He was arrested for assaulting two girlfriends in the past and violating a restraining order.
The Mystic Gentleman’s Club is located at Southeast Stark Street and Southeast 99th Avenue. Rizzo's boss said the staff calls him "The Hulk" because of his large stature, but his heart is even bigger.