At Least 20 People Shot, 1 Fatally, At Juneteenth Celebration Near Chicago

The DuPage County Sheriff's Office said that the incident unfolded in a parking lot in Willowbrook, Ill.

A Juneteenth celebration turned deadly when at least 20 people were shot in the early morning hours on Sunday, June 18. At least one person was killed and two are in critical condition, according to an ABC News report. 

The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. in the parking lot of a strip mall in Willowbrook, about 23 miles west of Chicago, according to the DuPage County Sheriff's Office.

"It was supposed to be like a Juneteenth celebration; we just started hearing shooting, so we dropped down until they stopped. They just kept going. After that, we literally scattered away," witness Markeshia Avery told WLS-TV.

RELATED: Pittsburgh Juneteenth Celebration Organizers Accuse City, State Of Discrimination

"We just heard gunshots; at first it was one, but then it was a whole bunch of gunshots. After then we started running like, 'yo.' I looked at my friend, and we took off, running like crazy," witness Zaviar Sheikh told WLS-TV.

"We were all just out, and, next thing you know, shots just kept going off; everybody ran, and it was chaos," another witness said.

The investigation is still ongoing into the incident and the DuPage County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information to call 630-407-2400.

RELATED: White House Announces Star-Studded Juneteenth Concert

The shooting comes on the heels of a weekend of incredible gun violence in Chicago after 53 people were shot in various incidents in the city over Memorial Day Weekend.

Newly-elected Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson implemented a new safety plan over the Memorial Day weekend--and despite the recent spate, shootings in the city were actually down 9 percent, according to ABC News. 

Johnson's initiative supports violence prevention programs, and youth outreach efforts by funding the work of more than 250 grassroots organizations across 24 communities on the West and South Sides of Chicago.

Johnson acknowledged that the city has a "lot of work to do" to defeat gun violence, adding, "Poverty didn't go away over the weekend," Johnson said. "We understand that when communities have been disinvested in and traumatized, that you're seeing the manifestation of that trauma."

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