CHICAGO — Gunmen opened fire on people leaving a funeral in the Gresham neighborhood Tuesday evening, wounding 15 people in the largest mass shooting in Chicago in recent years.
One person was taken into custody and was being questioned, Police First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter said at the scene. At least 60 shell casings were found at the shooting, which was part of an “ongoing gang conflict,” police said.
Retaliatory violence is likely already being planned, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a Wednesday morning press conference. She implored people to turn in the gunmen from this shooting and asked others to “find your humanity” and not perpetuate the city’s cycle of violence.
“I pray for you, but I also pray that we find you and bring you to justice,” Lightfoot said of the gunmen.
The 15 wounded people were taken to five area hospitals in various conditions, with six people seriously wounded. They ranged in age from 21 to 65.
No deaths had been reported as of Wednesday morning, though one person remains in “extremely critical condition,” said Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan.
The mass shooting happened at 6:30 p.m. in the 1000 block of West 79th Street. A funeral had just ended when a driver in a black car sped down 79th Street. People in the car opened fire on the crowd, Carter said.
It was unclear how many of the people wounded had been at the funeral, Carter said.
The driver of the black car turned north on Carpenter from 79th Street. After the turn, people in the car continued to fire on the funeral attendees, Carter said. People in the crowd at the funeral fired back.
The driver crashed on Carpenter and the people in the car ran off, he said.
Police said they think there were three people in the car, including two gunmen. They have video of the shooting but are trying to get more video and information, Deenihan said.
Police Supt. David Brown said Wednesday there were two squad cars monitoring the funeral, as well as a tactical team in the area. The night before, Carter had said there was just one squad car monitoring the funeral.
Tamar Manasseh, founder of anti-violence group Mothers Against Senseless Killings Chicago, said she asked police for increased patrols in the area ahead of the funeral.
“I told the police they were going to shoot up the funeral, AND THEY JUST DID!!!!!” she posted on Facebook after the shooting. “Please tell me how this happened AFTER the police had been notified that it would?”
Manasseh has built a school and dedicated anti-violence following in the neighborhood, and she said she tried to connect with Chicago Police ahead of the funeral to prevent more bloodshed.
Asked to respond to criticism that more patrols were requested, Carter said, “The commander of the district took every precaution he could.”
Lightfoot, Brown and other officials asked anyone with information to please contact police or to submit a tip anonymously, which can be done online.
Lightfoot said the city must support the young men behind the city’s shootings so they understand there is a life for them beyond gangs and violence. But she said the people behind Tuesday night’s shootings were “cowards.”
“We need to make these moments of grief and anguish a thing of the past,” Lightfoot said. “It’s a challenge for us as mothers, as fathers, as family members, as neighbors. We all are called in this season to think about what we can do; not just think, but to act.
“We cannot give the killers, the shooters, any shelter. I’m asking anyone with information to please step forward.”
Brown asked young people to “put down the guns,” saying much of Chicago’s violence is fueled by revenge shootings — creating an endless cycle.
The shooting Tuesday night was believed to be the worst mass shooting in Chicago since 2013, when 13 people, including a 3-year-old, where shot at a pickup basketball game in the Back of the Yards neighborhoods. A gunman with a military-grade assault rifle opened fire that night at Cornell Square Park. All of the victims survived. Seven people, including people who helped the gunmen get away and hide the guns, were charged and convicted.