Authorities reported that a Juneteenth celebration in a suburb of Chicago turned violent in the early hours of Sunday, resulting in at least 23 individuals sustaining injuries, one of whom tragically lost their life. The incident occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. in the parking lot of a strip mall situated in Willowbrook, which is located around 23 miles west of Chicago. These details were provided by the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Battalion Chief Joe Ostrander from the Tri-State Fire Protection District, the gunfire broke out amidst a sizable gathering of several hundred individuals who had come together to observe Juneteenth. The victims, who suffered from gunshot wounds, were transported to various local hospitals as confirmed by the sheriff’s office. Deputy Chief Eric Swanson of the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, during a press briefing, stated that one person was declared deceased, while at least two others were in critical condition.
Juneteenth Mass Shooting Chicago Suburb … DuPage County officials say 20 people were shot one fatally during an early morning gathering in the parking lot of a strip mall in unincorporated Willowbrook pic.twitter.com/mcTWxrpokB— SubX.News (@SubxNews) June 18, 2023
Currently, no arrests have been publicly disclosed.
The motive behind the shooting is currently being investigated.
According to the sheriff’s department, law enforcement officers were already present at the annual Juneteenth celebration, actively monitoring the event. They had responded to a 911 call regarding a nearby altercation when they heard gunshots. Upon hearing the gunfire, the deputies promptly returned to the Juneteenth celebration to address the situation.
The sheriff’s office reported that apart from the individuals who were directly shot, several other victims sought medical treatment at local hospitals for injuries sustained while trying to escape the vicinity.
Authorities stated that detectives were meticulously reviewing security footage and cellphone videos captured by witnesses on Sunday afternoon. Their objective was to identify any potential suspects involved in the incident.
Eyewitnesses provided accounts of a chaotic situation where people were seen dispersing in various directions, desperately seeking shelter and protection from the continuous gunfire.