A Lexington man died after an exchange of gunfire involving a number of people early Wednesday morning outside a Lexington nightclub, police said.
The Fayette County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Curtis Simmons, 33, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso. An autopsy was scheduled for later Wednesday, according to the coroner's office.
Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said police were looking for at least five men who left the club in a red Dodge Avenger with Florida license plates. Detailed descriptions of the men were immediately available.
Roberts said police were reviewing surveillance footage.
The shooting occurred about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in the parking lot outside the Divas Gentlemen's Club on Russell Cave Road, just off New Circle Road, police said.
It was the second fatal shooting at Divas since September, and the third violent death in Lexington since last Friday.
Roberts gave the following account of Wednesday morning's shooting: An argument developed inside the club between Simmons, who apparently had come to the establishment alone, and some other patrons. The disagreement calmed down for a while, but it resumed in the parking lot after the club closed. The argument then turned violent, and someone fired several shots, hitting Simmons.
At that point, Roberts said, a bystander who apparently knew Simmons intervened and fired several shots at Simmons' assailant.
It was unclear whether anyone else was hit, Roberts said.
Several investigators, along with the mobile crime lab, were at the strip club Wednesday morning. The entrance to the club, and most of the parking lot, were blocked off with police tape. Markers pinpointed the locations of several shell casings on the parking lot pavement.
"We have had quite a few incidents at that particular location," Roberts said.
Johntel Crocker, 22, was fatally shot during a fight in the Divas Club parking lot about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 22. Joshua Lee Tevis, 27, turned himself in to police a few days later, and he was charged with murder.
In March 2012, a man was shot in the leg near Divas. Jafari T. Moore, 31, was later arrested on several charges, including assault and wanton endangerment. Moore ultimately was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a jury found him guilty on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Roberts said Wednesday that police did not have plans to beef up patrols or vigilance at Divas. At this point, officers consider Wednesday's shooting to be an isolated incident, she said.
The strip club shooting followed two other fatalities in Lexington that have kept police busy since last Friday.
Officers continue to investigate the murder of Tom Rogers, 74, who was fatally stabbed Friday afternoon at his Tishoff Drive home. Police have circulated a sketch of a man that neighbors saw walking in the neighborhood, but officers said they aren't sure whether he was involved in the crime.
Police also have charged William McKenzie of Lexington with manslaughter in the suffocation death of his infant daughter last Saturday. McKenzie has admitted wrapping a blanket around the child's face.
Roberts said there have been 18 homicides in 2013 — all but two have been solved.
Despite the recent cases, Roberts said violent crimes in Lexington remain down for the year. Overall crime also is down for the year, she said.
"The only place where we are seeing increases is in non-violent property crimes like burglaries," Roberts said. "Of course, when you hear about it on the news every day it doesn't feel that way."
Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.