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Columbia VFW considers security changes after weekend shooting

A gunman is still on the loose after shooting four people at the Columbia VFW.

ABC 17 first reported the shooting as breaking news Saturday morning. It happened shortly before 1:00 a.m. Saturday during an rented-out event at the hall.

Tuesday, VFW Post 280 officials met with outside security to discuss what changes can be made to enhance safety.

The VFW replaced the front glass doors damaged by bullets Saturday. But inside the hall, there is still damage to the interior glass panels and steel doors down the hallway.

The VFW will not stop renting out the hall after the shooting, as it needs the extra money to keep the place running, officials said. But there will be more restrictions moving forward.

The VFW is going to begin having restrictions on what type of music can be played at the hall, Quarter Master Kim Wischmeyer said. The insurance company will not insure rap or hip-hop events.

The VFW is also considering increasing the deposit for renting out the hall. And guests might not be allowed to congregate in the front hallway.

Hosts that rent out the hall are required to bring their own security. Guards are required to check all guests for weapons and proper identification.

But the security staff was shorthanded this past weekend, Wischmeyer said. And the hosts only hired the guards 36 hours in advance.

The VFW is also looking at repairing the security cameras, as the outdoor camera does not work properly. And officials are looking at replacing the front doors with bullet-proof glass.

The VFW hall has had previous issues with the same group that rented out the hall this past weekend. But Senior Vice-President Don Briggs would not say why.

“I’ll just say that we’ve had issues with some of the things that they’ve done,” Briggs said. “They’ve been here three or four times. We don’t have a problem all the time.”

ABC 17 asked Briggs what issues he was referring to.

“I’ll just say we’ve had issues,” Briggs said.

Columbia police said they were searching for one to three black men that may have been responsible for the shooting Saturday. Police said detectives are continuing to interview witnesses Tuesday.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Columbia police or Crime Stoppers at (573)875-TIPS to remain anonymous.

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