CHICAGO – Fourteen people were injured, one person was being questioned and multiple suspects were being sought after gunfire erupted outside a funeral home on Chicago’s South Side where at least one squad car was present, police officials said Tuesday.
First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter said mourners outside a funeral home in the Gresham neighborhood were fired upon from a passing vehicle. Carter said several targets of the shooting returned fire. The vehicle later crashed and the occupants fled in several directions. Carter said all the victims were adults.
A person of interest was being questioned Tuesday night but no arrests had been made, said police spokesman Hector Alfaro.
The victims were taken by the Chicago Fire Department to nearby hospitals in serious condition, said spokesman Larry Langford. They include at least four women between the ages of 25 and 38, one of whom was shot in the chest, police said. Other victims include a 40-year-old man who was shot in the chest, arm and forearm, and two men, 32 and 22, who were shot in a hand, police said.
Police said the shooting happened at or near the site of a funeral or post-funeral event for a man fatally shot last week in the Englewood neighborhood.
Arnita Geder and Kenneth Hughes said they heard gunshots while in their home watching television, adding that they came outside to find bodies that were shot up and “laying everywhere.”
“We thought it was a war out here,” Geder told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s ridiculous all the shooting that’s going on out here, it really has to stop.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday night in a series of Twitter posts that “far too many people" have attended funerals and attempted to begin the process of healing entire communities following another “senseless tragedy." She added that people with information should speak up, even if anonymously.
“When a person picks up a gun, we suffer as a city. This cannot be who we are. Too many guns are on our streets and in the hands of people who should never possess them,” Lightfoot continued. “These individuals will be held accountable."
Carter said at least 60 shell casings were found at the scene of the shooting. It wasn’t immediately known if anyone other than attendees of the funeral were victims, nor if anyone in the SUV had been wounded. The person being questioned was uninjured, according to authorities. Investigators haven’t determined how many people were involved in the shooting.
A squad car was assigned to monitor the funeral as a precaution because of the sizable number of mourners attending, Carter said, adding that he was unaware of any warnings from community activists that trouble at the funeral was imminent.
“The district commander took every precaution that he could,” Carter said.
The shooting comes as the Department of Homeland Security is planning to deploy dozens of federal agents to Chicago to deal with an uptick in violent crime in the city.
Lightfoot, after threatening to sue if President Donald Trump acted without her permission, also noted earlier Tuesday that the city would be working with federal agents to fight crime.
Lightfoot has been skeptical of federal agents being sent to Chicago by Trump due to the controversy in Portland, Oregon, where the Trump administration sent federal officers after weeks of protests there over police brutality and racial injustice that followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Lightfoot said she expects Chicago will receive resources that will plug into existing federal agencies that already work with the city, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Oregon’s governor and Portland’s mayor have expressed anger with the presence of the federal agents, saying that the city’s protests had started to ease just as the federal agents started taking action.
Trump has framed such protests in the nation’s large cities as a failure by “liberal Democrats” who run them, praised the officers’ actions and said he was looking to send agents to other cities.
He pointed to rising gun violence in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, where more than 63 people were shot, 12 fatally, over the weekend.
Associated Press writer Torrance Latham contributed to this report.