By Jack Spillane and Rob Margetta, SouthCoastToday.com NEW BEDFORD -- A frightened cab driver said a lone gunman engaged in a firefight with police outside The Foxy Lady early this morning just after two women who work at the strip club told him the man had shot several individuals inside the club. Three people, including the gunman, are dead and two police officers are injured following the shootout. The dead, according to club owner Tom Tsoumas, are Tori Mirandos, 30, the general manager of the Foxy Lady clubs in both New Bedford and Fall River; Bobby Carreira, the Foxy’s floor manager in New Bedford; and Scott Medeiros, the alleged gunman. Mr. Medeiros is believed to be from Freetown. Nick Santiago, a Yellow Cab driver, said that when he pulled up to the Popes Island club just after 2 a.m to look for a closing-time fare, he saw a puzzling scene at the front door. “The two girls were pulling out a body out of the door,” he said. “I was driving by, and I drove slowly, and I asked them what was going on.” That’s when the gunman -- who was dressed in military-type gear with a bush hat -- addressed him. “I advise you to move the f--- out of here.” Mr. Santiago said the man told him. “He said ‘If not I’m going to get killed.’” “I told him, ‘Yeah, I’m going to move!’” He said the gunman let him and the two women who work at the club go but he aimed his fire at police who pulled up to the scene just after 2 a.m. “As the cops were pulling in, the guy that was at the door -- he was shooting, and it was one right after the other, and so the girls, panicked, they ran from him -- they had time to run -- and they ran in my cab and I took them out of there.” One of the women was a waitress at the club, the other was her friend, Mr. Santiago said. Jessica Blair, the waitress, said the shooter came into the club’s kitchen entrance wearing full body armour and a ski mask. He was carrying a M-16. He told the girls he was there for the men, not the women. He herded the girls into a dressing room and eventually allowed them to leave. “He just said ‘This isn’t a joke,’” Ms. Blair said. “We all thought it was a joke. We didn’t think the gun was real.’” Mr. Tsoumas said Mr. Medeiros had been involved with a female bartender at the club. The relationship ended badly, he said, and two weeks ago, Mr. Medeiros was told to leave the club. Mr. Santiago said the two women he took away from the club told him the alleged assailant was a regular customer. The scene when the police arrived was chaotic, he said. “No matter what he kept on shooting and it was an M-16, a semi-automatic,” he said. “There were like 10 to 15 shots at the time.” Mr. Santiago said the shooter looked like he was dressed for combat. “He had a black suit on. He had a bullet-proof vest. He looked like a soldier,” he said. The man who had been dragged out the front door “looked really bad. His eyes were twitching over,” he said. “What I saw was a tragedy here. I got scared myself. I was thinking of my kids because I thought I was going to get shot.” He has only worked as a cab driver for about a month, Mr. Santiago said. The standoff evidently began shortly before 2 at the establishment near the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge when several 911 calls were made to police about a heavily armed gunman at the establishment. Police said about a dozen patrons were in the strip club when the incident, a possible domestic, began. Police confirmed that one of the weapons was a M-16 rifle but would not confirm reports that gunman eventually turned the gun on himself. When asked whether the shooter died from a self-inflicted wound or was fatally shot by officers, police said they would not comment. Department Spokesman Capt. Richard Spirlet said for now he is not releasing the name of the shooter or any of those who were killed or wounded. “Right now, we’re not releasing the names of the victims,” Capt. Spirlet said. The alleged assailant was wearing camouflage, had several other weapons, police said. There was a report of a bag left outside the establishment and the State Police bomb unit is checking on it. One officer was shot in the face, the other in the torso, Capt. Spirlet said. He said the officers drove themselves to St. Luke’s Hospital and both are expected to live. The two injured police officers were on detail inside the strip club. The captain said he arrived at the scene as the incident was still unfolding. “I drove a cruiser up and put an injured guy in the back of my car,” he said. “He was shot through both legs.” At one point, he said, he jumped into a cruiser that was riddled with bullet holes, with four blown tires, and drove to a position where it was shielding the fleeing shooting victims from their assailant. “I took the disabled vehicle and ran it down, so it would block the shooter,” he said. New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang told WBSM “it was a very tragic night.” “This person obviously was not in his right mind. It was a domestic relationship type of dispute that came to a head. It was a targeted, premeditated act.” The mayor said the shooter was not from New Bedford. The type of weapon used was one “designed for military combat” and that the shots “ripped through” police cars, he said. He praised the performance of police who “responded heroically” as well as the emergency personnel who responded. “It makes me feel very, very well served,” he said. The captain said the police have a mobile command center set up at the Foxy Lady and are still investigating the scene. One of the two fatalities were shot near the Foxy Lady’s door, while the other was struck inside the club, Capt. Spirlet said. The third dead — the shooter — was shot on the sidewalk, he said. As of this morning, at least one body was still lying outside the front door. “Several police cruisers were fired upon when we drove up. We were dodging bullets,” Capt. Spirlet told WJAR Channel 10 news. “There was an exchange of gunfire with police,” he confirmed. Several patrons, who were shot, were also taken to the hospital, one later transferred to a Boston hospital. The Emergency Room at St. Luke’s is under lockdown while police gather evidence. However emergency vehicles and patients will be allowed in for treatment. State police helicopters and K-9 units were called to the scene and the helicopter hovered over the area for more than an hour. Audio clip: Reporters interview witness Nick Santiago, cab driver STANDARD-TIMES PHOTO BY PETER PEREIRA Contact Jack Spillane at email@example.com Contact Rob Margetta at firstname.lastname@example.org Standard-Times staffer Carol Costa-Crowell contributed to this report. 9:27 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006 New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge closed to traffic The New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge will be closed to traffic for at least four to five hours as police investigate the shooting at the Foxy Lady strip club on Popes Island. St. Luke's takes precautions St. Luke’s Hospital went into a temporary lockdown mode in response to the shootings at Foxy Lady. Visitors were restricted. Hospital security closely monitored people leaving and entering the hospital. The hospital also went on ambulance diversion. Ambulances transporting non-critical patients were told to take them to Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River and Tobey Hospital in Wareham. Two patients were admitted to St. Luke’s. One was transferred to another hospital in Rhode Island, hospital spokeswoman Joyce Brennan said.