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2 U.S. officials shot in Caracas strip club

By Osmary Hernandez, Mariano Castillo and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 11:26 PM EDT, Tue May 28, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two U.S. officials say the embassy staffers shot in Venezuela are military officials
  • The officials were shot at the Antonella 2012 club, a police spokeswoman says
  • The State Department says the officials' injuries are not life-threatening

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN) -- Two U.S. embassy officials were wounded Tuesday in a shooting, apparently at a strip club, in Caracas, Venezuela.

The U.S. State Department said two members of the embassy suffered non-life-threatening injuries but did not provide details.

The shooting occurred at the Antonella 2012 club, said Miroslava Gomez, a police spokeswoman.

Police and investigators combed the club, in the basement of a mall, but did not speak to reporters outside on Tuesday.

Mall security said the establishment is a strip club.

Signs posted outside the door of the club described it as a "weapon-free zone" and said the entrance of couples, unaccompanied women or anyone under 30 is forbidden.

Images of scantily clad women dancing around poles were plastered on a wall just inside the club's entrance.

The club's manager said on Tuesday night that the shooting had occurred inside the establishment.

The injured U.S. officials worked with the embassy's defense liaison office, according to two U.S. officials who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The two injured embassy officials were shot at a club in northeast Caracas, said an attending physician at a hospital in the Venezuelan capital. One was shot in the abdomen and the leg, and the other in the abdomen, Dr. Carlos Pacheco said.

The State Department did not immediately release the names of the two injured officials.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell would not elaborate on what kind of establishment the officials were at, except to say it was "some sort of social spot."

Asked Tuesday afternoon whether the shooting had occurred at a strip club, Ventrell told reporters, "I have no information on the site whatsoever."

The department was not aware of any arrests, Ventrell said, but it is in contact with local authorities.

Embassy security and health unit personnel were at the hospital and have reached out to the officials' families, Ventrell said.

CNN's Larry Shaughnessy and Paul Courson and journalist Daniel Garrido contributed to this report.

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