Suspect in bouncer shooting at strip club dies

Suspect in bouncer shooting at strip club dies
The suspect in a shooting at The Mystic Gentleman's Club has died

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The man believed to have shot a bouncer in the head over the weekend has died.

Portland Police say that Thomas Elliot Hjelmeland, 43, died Thursday afternoon at the area hospital where he’d been since Saturday evening.

Hjelmeland had returned to Mystic Gentleman’s Club near Mall 205 after getting into a scuffle, according to witnesses. Once there, he shot bouncer Brian Rizzo in the head.

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

Rizzo remains in a coma and in critical condition.

One of Rizzo’s co-workers returned fire, striking Hjelmeland.

A grand jury is expected to investigate the events of the evening including the actions of Rizzo’s co-worker.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner will determine the exact cause of death after an autopsy.

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.

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.