OAN’s Brooke Mallory
3:00 PM – Sunday, June 18, 2023
At least 22 people were hurt and one person was killed by gunshots overnight in Illinois during a Juneteenth party and celebration that turned fatal, according to authorities.
The DuPage County Sheriff’s Office stated that an unknown number of suspects fired many rounds from different guns into the enormous crowd assembled to celebrate Juneteenth.
“Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. It is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, and Black Independence Day. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the civil war and the end of slavery,” according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
Several additional victims were hurt in the mayhem as people tried to evacuate the scene, and they are currently being treated at local hospitals, according to the sheriff’s office.
According to authorities, no suspects are in custody yet.
Around 12:30 a.m., the incident occurred in a parking lot in Willowbrook, Illinois, some 21 miles west of Chicago.
A sizable crowd gathered for the celebration beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and police were stationed nearby to oversee the event, according to the sheriff’s office.
At around 12:25 a.m., the cops were summoned to respond to a 9-1-1 call reporting a chaotic brawl nearby.
“As deputies responded, they heard gunshots and immediately returned to the scene of the gathering,” the sheriff’s office said.
According to witnesses, the parking lot was still crowded when the sound of gunfire broke out, and the scene became disorderly. Some attendees also began to flee.
Markeshia Avery, who was there at the moment of the gunshot, claimed that she collapsed.
“We dropped down. We dropped down until they stopped. They just kept going,” Avery told reporters. “After that, we literally scattered away and just started trying to check on everybody that we knew.”
Some of the injured were taken to hospitals by ambulance, while others walked in, according to DuPage County Deputy Sheriff Eric Swanson.
According to Joe Ostrander, battalion chief of the Tri-State Fire Protection District, at least 12 ambulances came to the site.
Ostrander added that ten victims were taken to four hospitals with injuries ranging from graze wounds to more serious gunshot wounds, and two of the victims were in critical condition.
Swanson stated that the motivation for the shooting is still unknown and that an investigation is still pending.
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