Man accused of firing 18 shots into Gastonia strip club

by: Ken Lemon Updated:


Police said a man is behind bars in Gaston County on a $1 million bond after he stood outside the Leather & Lace club, in Gastonia, on Thursday night and fired two guns into the club.

Mario Chavez appeared before a judge Friday afternoon.

Mario Chavez told the judge he couldn't work to pay for an attorney because he has health issues.

"I got a hernia. I will be seeking surgery,” he said.

A witness, who said he saw Chavez at Leather & Lace Strip Club, said Chavez didn't seem like he had any health problems when he shot up the club.

The witness asked not to be identified.

"Some random lunatic with a gun,” he said.

Police said Chavez got too aggressive with a stripper, so bouncers threw him out.

The witness said Chavez seemed very mad as he left, but no one could predict what happened next.

Police say Chavez went to his truck and grabbed a gun and fired into the club until that gun jammed or ran out of ammo, then he got another gun.

"It didn't take two seconds to know that was a gun,” the witness said.

He said he could see wood chips flying across the club as the bullets flew through the walls.

A dancer jumped off the stage.

"It's just scream and running. That's all; it's just screaming and running and ducking,” the witness said.

One shot went through a sofa near where a man was playing pool.

"It couldn't have been more than 2 feet away from me,” he said.
Police say Chavez got into his truck and fired two more shots as he drove away.

Six shots went into the building. None of them hit the 18 people inside.

Police arrested Chavez nearby.