Gunfire erupted at a party on Chicago’s South Side early Sunday, killing two people and wounding 13 others in what authorities say may have been a gang-related shooting.
Officers responded at around 4:40 a.m. to reports of a shooting at a towing company where the party took place, police said. Jose Jara, a department spokesman, said in a statement that those shot were between the ages of 20 and 44.
Seven of the wounded were taken to hospitals in serious to critical condition, fire department spokesman Larry Merritt told the Chicago Sun-Times. Others went to hospitals on their own or were taken by acquaintances, which complicated getting an accurate count of the wounded, said authorities, who initially reported that 10 people had been shot but later raised the total to 12 and then 15 people.
Red and black balloons and a shoe were on the ground outside the business shortly after the shooting, the Chicago Tribune reported. It said a blood stain was also visible on concrete.
The Tribune cited preliminary information in a police report as saying the shooting may have been gang-related. A woman who had been shot in the head was found dead outside the building, and a 39-year-old man was found dead inside in a back room, according to the police report. Authorities hadn't made any arrests as of Sunday afternoon.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office later identified those killed as 30-year-old Rayneesha Dotson and 39-year-old Lionel Darling. They were pronounced dead at 4:55 a.m. at the scene, the medical examiner’s office said.
Speaking to reporters near the scene of the shooting in Chicago’s Park Manor neighborhood, Police Superintendent David Brown said investigators were still seeking a possible motive.
Brown said four guns were recovered at the scene, but he didn’t say whether investigators believe more than one person fired shots.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Brown said. “Detectives are really just getting started.”
A bar had been step up in a garage attached to the business for what Brown described as a “pop-up party.”
“We don’t know what the celebration associated with this party was at this point, we’re still trying to follow-up on leads on what that motive might be,” Brown said.
More than 760 people were killed in Chicago in 2020, one the highest homicide totals in the city in 20 years. Police blamed many of those killings on disputes between rival gangs.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the shooting “outrageous” in a series of Twitter posts Sunday, urging those who witnessed it to come forward and tell police what they saw. She added that "people out there, people reading this, know who pulled the trigger last night.”
“For the mothers who will never hear their child’s voice again, and the children who will grow up without a parent, I urge you to please support our city in this investigation so justice can be served and our families can move forward from this tragic and heart-shattering loss,” Lightfoot said.