An eruption of gunfire outside a funeral home that left 15 injured on Chicago’s South Side Tuesday was part of an ongoing conflict between rival gang members, police say.
Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said the man whose funeral was being held at the time of the incident had been killed in a drive-by shooting last week, in retaliation for a previous shooting.
Police said a group of people had gathered outside a funeral home in the Gresham neighborhood Tuesday when three men pulled up in a stolen car and two opened fire.
Mourners at the funeral returned fire, the stolen car crashed a short distance away and the three occupants fled on foot, police said.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said Wednesday the rival gang factions were repeating a troubling cycle of violence and revenge.
‘We can’t keep meting out violence with violence,’ Brown said. ‘An eye for an eye makes us both blind. It’s destroying our families and perpetuates this endless cycle of gunshot victims night after night.’
CCTV footage believed to be from the incident shows the horrifying moment mourners are shot at while standing outside the funeral home. A dark car is seen pulling up by the pavement where attendees of the funeral are gathered. Gunshots can then be heard and the people run for cover from the bullets
The car pulls forward and more shots can be heard amid the screams, before it reverses out of view
Police investigate the scene of the shooting Tuesday – in what marked yet another day of shocking violence in the city
Brown revealed that at least 60 shell casings were recovered from the scene. The violence unfolded despite police having two squad cars outside the funeral home as well as a tactical team deployed to the neighborhood.
The extensive measures are regularly employed by the department as a precaution for funerals involving a gang member or those linked to gangs.
‘We had intelligence that the deceased was killed in a drive-by shooting … and there was a gang connection and we deployed our resources accordingly,’ he told reporters at a news conference.
All those who were shot in the crossfire were adults. Police said Wednesday that two were in critical condition and the other 13 who were injured are expected to recover.
The two men in their 30s in critical condition are ‘known to police,’ CPD said.
They said one person of interest was taken in for questioning Tuesday night and on Wednesday police declined to provide further details.
The shooting comes as the Department of Homeland Security is planning to deploy dozens of federal agents to Chicago to deal with a significant uptick in violent crime in the city. Neither Brown nor Mayor Lori Lightfoot commented at the news conference on the planned increased federal presence in the city.
Lightfoot, after threatening to sue if President Donald Trump acted without her permission, had noted on Tuesday that the city would be working with federal agents to fight crime.
The Mayor has been skeptical of federal agents being sent to Chicago by Trump due to the controversy seen in Portland, Oregon, where the president deployed federal officers after weeks of protests there over police brutality and racial injustice.
Lightfoot, after threatening to sue if President Donald Trump acted without her permission, had noted on Tuesday that the city would be working with federal agents to fight crime
This came just hours after she vowed ‘under no circumstance’ to let Trump send his troops to Chicago
A mass shooting has left 14 people injured after an ambush at a funeral home on Chicago’s South Side. Pictured police are on the scene outside the funeral home after a shooting in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood of Chicago
Police photograph the crime scene. Authorities said at least 60 bullets were fired in the shootout Tuesday evening when people inside a car opened fire on the funeral party, who then returned fire on the vehicle
Chicago police investigate the scene of the shooting as night falls. One person has been taken into custody
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.
On Tuesday, those shot outside the funeral home included 10 women from the ages of 21 and 65, including one of whom was shot in the chest, police said.
The 65-year-old was treated at the scene and is now said to be in a stable condition.
Other victims include a man who was shot in the chest, arm and forearm, and two men, 32 and 22, who were shot in a hand, police said.
‘This can’t happen,’ Deenihan said Wednesday as he urged witnesses to come forward. ‘You can’t drive down the street and indiscriminately shoot in to a crowd of people and then flee the scene.’
‘This is an ongoing gang conflict where individuals are shooting at each other, and obviously those individuals then have no interest in cooperating with police,’ he continued.
The number of shooters is currently unknown but one ‘person of interest’ is being interviewed by detectives
Carter (pictured) said the mass shooting began when a black vehicle sped along the road outside the funeral home traveling west on 79th Street and people inside began firing shots at funeral attendees
Carter said they could not confirm how many shooters there were on both sides but a total of 60 shell casings had been recovered from the scene (the scene above)
The total number of shooters on both sides of the firefight is currently unknown.
Fire officials said nine of the victims were taken to hospitals by emergency services, while at least two others drove themselves to hospital.
One witness told NBC Chicago described the city’s streets like ‘a war’, saying they heard gunfire before seeing ‘bodies laying everywhere’ in the street.
‘All we saw was just bodies laying everywhere,’ Arnita Gerder said.
‘Shot up everywhere, all over. Legs, stomach, back, all over the place. We thought it was a war out here.’
‘We saw a car with about six bullet holes in it and it was turned facing the grass like he lost control. We saw a hat down on the ground and evidently it was his,’ another witness Kenneth Hughes told NBC Chicago.
More gun violence struck early Wednesday. A few miles away in the city´s South Shore neighborhood, a 3-year-old girl was hospitalized in serious condition after being shot in the head while riding in a vehicle with her parents, police said. Her parents told police two people fired at them from a corner. No one was immediately arrested.
Footage from the scene shows the area cordoned off by police tape and several emergency services vehicles in the area
Family members were pictured later in the night waiting outside one of the nearby hospitals where the conditions of victims are unknown
More than 2,000 people have been shot in Chicago so far this year, with 25 shot, including four fatally, on Monday alone.
This followed an equally bloody weekend, where 63 were shot including 12 dead.
Tuesday’s shooting highlighted what Brown said are hundreds of gang conflicts that occur everywhere in the city involving 117,000 gang members, dozens of gangs, hundreds of gang factions and well over 2,000 what he called sub factions.
As police and city officials in the past have done repeatedly, Brown and Lightfoot implored people with information about the shooting to report what they know to police before what authorities fully expect will be another attack in retaliation for Tuesday´s shooting.
‘Someone listening has information that will help prevent the retaliation that unfortunately is probably being planned at this very moment,’ Lightfoot said.
Added Brown: ‘This same cycle repeats itself over and over and over again.’