Shooting investigation centers around downtown nightclub

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Jason Flores of Bristol, Conn., was outside Jewel Music Venue where he learned about the earlier shooting incidents. He is the promoter for this weekend’s “Leathal Weekend” featuring rappers at the club. He said he’s had many shows at the club and never had a problem./Pat Grossmith

MANCHESTER, NH – Police are searching for a white “boxy” van, possibly a Dodge, in connection with a drive-by shooting on Interstate 293 South early Friday morning in which four people were shot.

They also are investigating an incident in which a gunshot was fired in the area of the Jewel Music Venue, 61 Canal St., that resulted in a police chase that ended in a crash, with two men arrested and an officer injured.

Calls to police in both incidents referenced the Jewel nightclub but both city and New Hampshire State Police investigators say they have yet to determine if they are linked. State police said the van was carrying people who had been at the nightclub. 

The driver of the van left the highway at the Brown Avenue off-ramp and drove directly to the hospital.  An officer assigned there called headquarters to report four people were brought in suffering from gunshot wounds. Police said all of the injuries are not life-threatening.

Photographer Jeffrey Hastings was at the Elliot Hospital, where the injured were treated, shortly after the shooting and saw nine people waiting outside on a grassy area. They said they had just performed at Jewel and were in the van when it was sprayed with bullets.

After the people were dropped off at the Elliot Hospital, Officer Alexandros Hondros, patrolling downtown, heard a gunshot in the area of Jewel and saw a blue Audi leaving the area at a high rate of speed. 

He pursued the car and other officers joined in the chase.  The car was pulled over in a “felony motor vehicle stop” – meaning the officer or officers had their guns drawn.  However, the driver sped off and a second pursuit began.

The Audi continued south on Elm Street where it crashed at the South Elm Street dead end.  The driver, police said, then backed into a parked pickup truck and struck Hondros’ cruiser.

Police said Dy’vee Spencer, 21, and Jose Jusino, also 21, and both from Springfield, Mass., were arrested.  Spencer, police said, tried to flee but was quickly taken into custody.  He is charged with reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, conduct after an accident, resisting arrest and disobeying a police officer.  Jusino is charged with resisting arrest.

A Hillsborough County Superior Court clerk said Friday afternoon that no paperwork has been filed with the court in the cases.  The two men are expected to be arraigned on Monday, she said.

Police continue to investigate the incident involving a gun being fired near Jewel.

Hondros was taken to the hospital for evaluation of injuries he suffered when his cruiser was struck by the Audi.  He was later released.

Friday afternoon, detectives were at Jewel, according to Jason Flores of Bristol, Conn.  Flores is the promoter for Leathal Weekend, that begins tonight.  Tonight’s lineup features Night 1-Flesh N Bone, Esham and Lil Eazy-E, among others.  Saturday’s lineup includes Shaggy 2 Dope, Ouija Macc, King Gordy, DJ Clay and more.

He only learned of the incidents when he arrived at the club about 1 p.m. to speak to the owner.  He wasn’t there.

Flores joked that given the incidents under investigation he should probably rename the event “Happy Weekend.”  Flores said he has done many shows at the club and has never had a problem.

He said it sounded to him like the incident involved two groups of people with their own issues.

Aldenberg declined to say how many bullets struck the van, which police impounded.  City and state police are working together on the incidents although police are heading the investigation into the drive-by shooting, while Manchester police are focusing on the incident downtown.  

Anyone who witnessed the incident on the highway or has information concerning either incident is asked to call state police at 603-223-4381 or Manchester detectives at 603-668-8711.