Published June 25. 2012 4:00AM
Norwich - Police are investigating a fatal shooting at the Mai Thai Restaurant and Bar in Laurel Hill in which the gunman fled the scene and remains at large. A second victim was injured.
The shooting occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday as the restaurant, located at 327 Laurel Hill Ave., was preparing to close, according to Norwich Police Capt. Patrick Daley.
Two women were shot in the bar section of the restaurant, police said. Norwich and the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad said the women were shot by a man after a minor disturbance inside the restaurant.
Both victims were taken to The William W. Backus Hospital. One was pronounced dead and the other was treated and released.
Daley said he did not know if the victims knew each other or the shooter. The victims will not be identified until family notifications have been made, he said.
The gunman at first fled on foot, but it is not clear whether he may have gotten into a waiting car, Daley said. The shooter fled during the mayhem in the parking lot that followed the shooting, he added.
The section of Laurel Hill Avenue where the bar is located was closed to traffic until late Sunday morning, as police conducted a search of the surrounding area.
The restaurant, a converted red brick school, remained cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape Sunday afternoon.
Norwich police were being assisted in the investigation Sunday by the State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad and the New London County State's Attorney's office.
Anyone with information is asked to call Norwich police.
Daley said police did not have a chance to speak with all bar patrons who may have had information about the incident because people dispersed quickly after the shooting.
Some neighbors nearby on Laurel Hill Avenue said Sunday they clearly heard the shots and that they were preceded by shouting that seemed to come from the parking lot.
One neighbor, who did not want to identify himself, said he has often heard loud arguments from the bar's parking lot at closing time on weekends. There was a brawl last weekend in which people were yelling at each other, he said.
The Mai Thai has been open about a year, the neighbors said.
Even though it is a restaurant, it usually does not serve during the day and often does not open until early in the evening.
There was another restaurant in the same location but with a different name before Mai Thai opened, the neighbors said.