Strip club bouncer shot in the head, clinging to life in coma

Strip club bouncer shot in the head, clinging to life in coma »Play Video
This video still image taken from Brian Rizzo's Facebook page shows him lifting weights.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A victim in the worst condition after Saturday's shooting at a strip club near Mall 205 was shot in the head, according to his friends.

His friends say 26-year-old Brian Rizzo is in a coma at a hospital.

Rizzo's a security guard and bouncer at Mystic Gentlemen's Club where a police source said the gunman walked in and shot Rizzo in a matter of just seven seconds.

Rizzo is licensed with the state as an unarmed security guard. Two witnesses told KATU News the shooter appeared to be aiming for him.

Police on Tuesday identified the suspected shooter as 43-year-old Thomas Elliott Hjelmeland. Police said Hjelmeland is in critical condition in a Portland hospital and has not yet been charged in the case.

The club's owner said the suspect was wearing a Halloween mask.

The owner of the club confirmed Rizzo told someone he couldn't come into the club just 30 minutes before the shooting.

Bullets hit two other people inside – a waitress and a customer playing video poker at the time.

The customer, Gonzalo Zamora-Hernandez, said by phone Monday that he was shot in the foot but in the chaos he didn't realize it until someone pointed it out.

"When I was running all the way to the back to the bar, I hear voices: 'Call 911! He's shot!'" Zamora-Hernandez said. "I tried to be calm and just wait for paramedics to treat my foot. I was scared."

He and the woman shot are both out of the hospital and doing OK.

The fourth person shot is Hjelmeland.

A different bouncer pulled his own gun and shot Hjelmeland just outside the club.

Police have not released the name of the person who shot Hjelmeland. Police have not made any arrests at this point.

In addition to the police investigation, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is investigating, looking to see if the business owner could have prevented the shooting.

The owner says she couldn't have prevented it. She has 30 cameras, a metal detector and an ID scanner and felt none of it could have stopped the gunman.