Seven men in their 20s were stabbed with knives and broken bottles early Sunday morning on Tremont Street in the Theater District, including two who required surgery, police said.
Three of the men were transported from the scene, and four others walked to area hospitals for medical attention, Boston police spokesman Stephen McNulty said.
Police received a call at 2:10 a.m. for a person stabbed or shot near 271 Tremont St., shortly after the bars and clubs closed. When police arrived, they found the three men who were then transported.
McNulty said a fight broke out on the street and “there is no information as to what precipitated the incident or if an establishment is connected in any way at this time.”
Joe Mellen, 27, an employee for Tufts Parking and Transportation on Tremont Street, said he saw about 20 men punching each other in front of the club and at a nearby bus stop. He said security personnel for the club and for Tufts Medical Center were trying to break it up, but there were too many people involved.
Mellen, who has worked at the parking garage for five years, said he had never seen anything like it.
“There was no way to tell who was fighting who,” Mellen said. “During the whole melee, it looked like one guy was swinging a bottle around. It was really chaotic.”
Trails of blood could be seen late Sunday morning in front of the adjacent Royale and Candibar nightclubs, the Courtyard Marriott, the Tremont Variety store, and in a park on the corner of Tremont and Oak streets.
Boston police superintendent Bernard O’Rourke, who was at the scene, said one victim, “who did survive some wounds,” is believed to be a suspect in the stabbings. That person fled south on Charles Street South, O’Rourke said.
No arrests had been made as of Sunday evening, and no information on a suspect or suspects was available, McNulty said.
Boston police Commissioner William B. Evans said Sunday that the incident occurred outside the Candibar nightclub.
“What I’ve seen from reports is that it originated outside the Candibar, which is sort of connected with the Royal [nightclub],” Evans said. “We’re very fortunate no one was seriously injured.”
Speaking to reporters at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Cambridge Sunday morning, Mayor Martin J. Walsh called the stabbings “a very unfortunate incident in the city.”
“People should be able to go out and have a good time without causing all of that chaos and violence,” Walsh said. He said there have been incidents in the past in that area but did not elaborate.
Walsh said officials will determine “what we can do better there.”
“Boston is a world-class city, and we want people to be able to go out and enjoy themselves and not have to worry about violence or incidents like that,” he said. “We’ll take appropriate action if need be.”
Evans said the city’s licensing board will take a look at the circumstances surrounding the stabbings, and “hopefully this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”
Suffolk University and Emerson College alerted students about the stabbings through e-mails, text messages, and phone calls.
Emerson College, which has a number of facilities nearby, said in one of the alerts that no members of its community were involved and asked students to report any “suspicious activity.”
Boston police detectives canvassed the area Sunday afternoon and were seen looking in trash cans on Tremont Street and in a park nearby.
Sanjay Patel, 51, had heard about the stabbings and stopped by Tremont Variety, a convenience store his nephew owns, on Sunday afternoon.
“It looks very bad . . . look at the blood over there,” Patel said. “It’s not good for him, for the business. [My nephew] doesn’t want customers to stop coming here.”
Two doors down at the Courtyard Marriott, spokeswoman Lucy Slosser said the hotel was cooperating with police and had security.
She said she was not aware of any effect the violence might have had on hotel guests, but staff were available to “direct any information” they had.
Residents and students in the area were shocked to learn that such violence erupted in the Theater District.
“I do expect these kinds of activities, but not in the Theater District,” said Amy Chen, 27, of the Back Bay who was walking along Tremont Sunday afternoon with her boyfriend, Alec Martin. “It’s concerning because of the number of people [stabbed]. I try not to come into this area at 2 a.m.”
Suffolk University freshman Michael Falewicz, 19, of Billerica, said his parents called him early in the morning to make sure he and his friends were safe after they heard about the stabbings.
“It could be anybody,” he said. “It could happen to us.”
His friend, Kyle Carver, 18, of New Hampshire, also a freshman at Suffolk University, said the incident was alarming.
“I don’t like to hear about stabbings near where I live,” he said.
The violence was particularly unnerving for Emerson College junior Poom Nirunwongwan, 20, whose girlfriend lives nearby on campus.
Nirunwongwan lives in Brookline and said he frequents the area near where another shooting occurred outside an Allston nightclub a week ago.
“I’m worried something could happen at any time,” Nirunwongwan said. “It’s made me scared a little bit.”
Any witnesses are asked to call police at 800-494-TIPS.
Jan Ransom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Jan_Ransom.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this story said that a suspect was in custody.