At least 23 people were shot, one fatally, during a gathering in a parking lot that drew hundreds of people in a suburban town southwest of Chicago early Sunday, authorities said.
The mass shooting took place in a parking lot in a strip mall in Willowbrook, Illinois, shortly before 12:30 a.m., Battalion Chief Joe Ostrander with the Tri-State Fire Protection District told WGN, a Chicago-area news station. The DuPage County Sheriff’s Office said hundreds of people were at the “peaceful gathering” to celebrate Juneteenth before multiple shots were fired into the crowd.
“We know of 22 victims injured and one victim killed by gunfire. Several other victims were also injured while attempting to flee the area,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Rick Wagner, who lives nearby, told the Daily Herald there were at least 300 people in the lot by 10:30 p.m.
The sheriff’s office said police were monitoring the gathering but were called away because of a nearby fight. After gunshots were heard, officers immediately returned to the scene.
“The motive behind this incident is unclear,” said Eric Swanson, deputy chief at the DuPage County sheriff’s office. “We transported numerous victims from the scene. Others just walked into area hospitals.”
The conditions of the wounded were not immediately available, Swanson told reporters.
“It was supposed to be like a Juneteenth celebration,” witness Markeshia Avery told WGN. “We just started hearing shooting, so we dropped down.”
More than five area police districts were involved in the response to the shooting, officials told WGN. It was not clear Sunday morning how many shooters were involved or the motivation for the attack.
Deputies were in an area near the intersection of Honeysuckle Rose Lane and Route 83 when they heard multiple gunshots, NBC Chicago reported.
310 mass shootings in 2023, Gun Violence Archive says
There have been 310 mass shootings in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks gun violence. The archive describes a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are killed or injured, not including the shooter.
Other shootings this weekend:
2 die in shooting at Beyond Wonderland electronic music festival
In Washington State, two people were killed and three injured in a shooting near a campground where many people were staying to attend a two-day music festival.
Organizers of the Beyond Wonderland electronic music festival said the second day of events at the Gorge Amphitheatre were canceled. Concert organizers described the location as an “overflow camping area.”
The incident began at 8:23 pm on Saturday, said Kyle Foreman, public information officer for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.
“The shooter walked away from where the incident happened,” Foreman said in a news conference televised by KING-TV. “The shooter continued to shoot randomly into the crowd. The suspect was eventually taken into custody.
The shooter was one of the people injured and was shot during a confrontation with law enforcement, Foreman said.
The names and conditions of the victims were not immediately available.
While a public alert had warned there was an active shooter in the area and advised people to “run, hide or fight,” Foreman said there was no effort to evacuate the festival. Festival activities continued following the shooting and did not end until early Sunday morning, Foreman said.
The festival is hosted annually at the Gorge Amphitheatre along the Columbia River Gorge.
WHO COMMITS GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA?A child shot his teacher, a 72-year-old man opened fire in public: Here’s what that tells us about guns in America.
St. Louis shooting kills one teen; 9 others wounded
In St. Louis, a shooting at 1:03 a.m. Sunday killed one person and injured 10, half of whom were under the age of 18, Police Chief Robert Tracy said in a news briefing Sunday afternoon aired by KMVO television.
A 17-year-old boy died in the attack and police had one person in custody but more arrests were also possible, Tracy said. The incident occurred in the downtown area on the fifth floor of an office building that police believe was being used as a party site.
“Our officers arrived and observed a large number of individuals running from the building,” Tracy said. Officers recovered multiple firearms from the scene, including AR-style rifle pistols and a handgun, Tracy added.
All but one of the injured were hit with gunfire.
“A 17-year-old female was possibly trampled coming down the stairs, running from the scene and has serious injuries to her spine at this time,” he said.
Tracy said the department is still investigating what happened and what the event was but said several witnesses told officers it was not spontaneous.
Half of those injured lived outside the city of St. Louis, Tracy said. Both he and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said at the briefing there is an ongoing problem with juveniles coming into downtown St. Louis late at night.
“Downtown is not a 1 a.m. destination for your 15-year-old. It’s not a place to drop children off unsupervised,” Jones said.
Contributing: Thao Nguyen, USA TODAY; The Associated Press