Chicago police are searching for suspects connected to a mass shooting on the city’s South Side early Sunday morning that claimed two lives and wounded 13 others. Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the incident “outrageous” and implored the people responsible to turn themselves in.
Authorities told the Chicago Sun-Times that a fight broke out about 4:40 a.m., during a party in a business space that doubled as a party venue. At least 15 people were hit by bullets, ranging in age from 20 to 44 years old. Two victims identified as Rayneesha Dotson, 30, and Lionel Darling, 39, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner, were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Two other people were critically wounded and three are listed in serious condition. The rest of the victims were said to be in good condition, the Sun-Times reported.
During a Sunday news conference, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said four weapons were recovered from the scene, but no individuals have been taken into custody. Police do have several leads, but they remain unconfirmed so far.
“Detectives are continuing to do their preliminary investigation and their interviews, but several of the witnesses who were wounded are still in surgery and have yet to be interviewed,” said Brown, according to the Sun-Times. “So more to come as far as any kind of motive or any kind of additional evidence.”
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Ja’Mal Green, a community activist and former mayoral candidate held a news conference on Sunday. He said he spoke to several people who were at the party and they told him the shooting was sparked by a “petty” argument that escalated.
“If you know any of the people that were shooting in this party last night, please speak up because we have to get them off of the streets,” Green said. But he also noted that the ease in which a minor dispute turned into a significant shooting is evidence of an unaddressed mental health crisis.
“Obviously, we know there are real issues going on in peoples’ heads that we’ve got to start to tackle,” he said. “Because if they think that that’s the way to solve issues, then we’re going to have a real bloody summer.”
The shooting was among the most violent in recent memory in Chicago. Last summer, 15 people were wounded at a South Side funeral home during a service, but all the victims survived.
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So far, in 2021, there have been 393 shootings in Chicago, and 93 people have been murdered, according to police statistics, a 31 percent year-over-year increase. The weekend was particularly violent, with 40 people shot in three days.
Lightfoot said that the shooter or shooters are known to the people at the party and likely others and encouraged them to report them rather than give them safe harbor..
“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 in a Twitter thread.