1 dead, 22 injured in shootout in suburban Chicago parking lot


WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (AP) — At least 23 people were shot early Sunday, one fatally, during a gathering in a parking lot attended by hundreds of people in suburban Chicago, authorities said.

A television news video showed the mall compound in Willowbrook, about 20 miles (32.1 kilometers) southwest of Chicago, filled with debris and police cordon tape.

The DuPage County Sheriff’s Office described it as a “peaceful gathering” celebrating June 19 that suddenly erupted into violence as several people fired multiple shots into the crowd.

“We are aware of 22 victims who were injured by gunfire and one victim killed. Several other victims were also injured while attempting to flee the area,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Police monitored the gathering but were called away because of a nearby brawl, the sheriff’s office said.

“They heard gunshots and immediately returned to the scene,” the sheriff’s office said.

A motive for the attack was initially unknown and no one was arrested by early afternoon.

“We transported numerous victims from the scene of the accident. Others just went to the area hospitals,” said Eric Swanson, deputy chief of the sheriff’s office.

Rick Wagner, who lives nearby, said at 10:30 p.m. there were at least 300 people in the parking lot

“We have had several conversations with the police” about the gathering of large groups there, Wagner said the Daily Herald.

“It was like cars everywhere,” he said.

A witness, Markeshia Avery, said it was a June 19 celebration. Monday is the federal holiday that commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned they had been set free – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

“We just started hearing gunshots, so we lay down until they stopped,” Avery said said WLS TV.

Another witness, Craig Lotcie, said: “Everyone ran away and there was chaos.”

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