Stampede kills 17 after brawl at crowded club

Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital

TWITTERThe dead and injured were taken to the nearby Miguel Pérez Carreño hospital

CARACAS, Venezuela-Venezuela's government said 17 people were killed early Saturday after a tear-gas device was set off during a nightclub brawl, triggering a stampede among hundreds of people gathered for a graduation celebration.

Eight of those who suffocated were younger than 18, Venezuela's interior minister Nestor Reverol said.

Five people injured in the incident, one seriously, are being treated in hospital, Efe news agency reports.

The stampede took place at the Club Los Cotorros in the El Paraíso district in western Caracas, local media reported.

Seven people were arrested (three pictured) based on witnesses statements, including the club owner and man accused of setting off the gas.

Officials are investigating and have ordered the club shut down.

"The kids couldn't leave", he said.

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He had three sacks in the spring game and was expected to contend for a starting outside linebacker job this coming season. He was transported to a local hospital and then after an investigation, he was cited in lieu of custody for DUII.

"That's not a big space and that should not be authorized", he said.

However, he said the owner permitted weapons into the club that threatened the "integrity" of the establishment.

Mr Reverol said authorities had arrested seven people and the investigation was ongoing.

The crime wave, coupled with a cratering economy, has extinguished much of Venezuela's once vibrant nightlife and left many families hesitant to let their teenage children out after dark.

Party-goers were celebrating the end of the school year and several of the dead are reported to be minors.

Haide Berrio, the aunt of a 17-year-old boy killed in the melee, told local media she went running out to find her nephew in the middle of the night after hearing about the commotion at the club and knowing that he was attending the party.

'We haven't received a response from anybody, neither from the police nor the doctors, ' Nilson Guerra, the father of one victim, said at the hospital.

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