OAKLAND -- Nine people were shot early Sunday at a downtown Oakland Halloween party, causing pandemonium that saw people diving for cover and running outside to safety, authorities said.

Most of the victims were hit in the arms and legs and none of the wounds were believed to be life-threatening, police said.

No one was arrested in what is believed to be the largest number of shooting victims at one time in Oakland in recent memory.

The shooting happened at 12:01 a.m. Sunday inside Sweet's Ballroom, 1933 Broadway, which was the site of a Halloween party billed as the Fright Fest, "the biggest college party in the Bay Area."

Community and university college students were encouraged to attend.

The party, which cost $15 for admission, was promoted on various websites and offered DJs, live music and dancing for people 18 and over. Costumes were optional and doors opened at 9 p.m. Saturday.

A ballroom employee, who did not want to be identified, said at least 600 people attended the event.

For still unknown reasons at least one gunman opened fire, police said, possibly at a man who was wounded in the back. It is believed that most of the people wounded were not intended targets but innocent victims hit by stray bullets.

When officers responded, several hundred people were fleeing the facility, Oakland police Lt. Rick Hassna said. Police found one victim inside, two at a nearby BART station and the rest on the street outside, he said. They were taken to several hospitals.


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The most seriously wounded was the man hit in the back, authorities said.

Police said the victims ranged in age from 18 to 29. The majority were women and some were from San Francisco. It was not immediately known where the other victims were from. All of them were in stable condition and some were expected to be released Sunday after treatment.

The ballroom employee said attendees were searched at the door and could not say how someone with a gun got inside.

There were 16 security guards at the party, he said, and there had only been a minor fight before the shooting and those involved had left.

Fliers promoting the event read, "OPD in full effect," implying to some attendees that police would be present at the event to ensure safety. However, the department was only informed of the event and no officers attended the party.

The ballroom employee said the lights were on when the shooting started and it quickly turned into "chaos and pandemonium" with "everybody diving for cover" or running outside.

The party promoter has held other events at Sweet's before for years without any problems, he said.

The promoter did not return multiple calls and e-mails Sunday asking for comment.

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $45,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the gunman. Anyone with information can call police at 510-238-3426 or Crime Stoppers at 510- 777-8572 or 510-777-3211.

Sean Maher contributed to this story.