A man was arrested Sunday morning after allegedly shooting 15 people at an unsanctioned Halloween party in North Lawndale, just minutes after he was kicked out, police said.
William Betancourt, commander of the Chicago Police Department’s Ogden District, told reporters that the “senseless act of violence” happened around 1 a.m. in the 1200 block of South Pulaski Road.
Some of the approximately 100 attendees told police that the suspected shooter “was kicked out of the party, and he came back a few minutes later with a gun and started shooting,” Betancourt said at a conference press release Sunday afternoon.
The suspect was taken into custody a short time later in the 4000 block of West 14.th Street, Betancourt said, crediting party attendees who provided its description and flight path. A firearm was recovered.
The victims of the attack were aged 26 to 53, including nine men and six women, Betancourt said. Two of them were seriously injured, while the others were in good to fair condition.
Andre Williams, one of the entertainers at the party, said the suspect argued with security before shooting.
“He came back, put his arm through the door and started filming,” Williams told Network Video Productions Inc., which shared video of the interview.
Another video circulating on social media appears to show the frenzied scene after the shooting, with some of the victims still bleeding on the ground.
Police radio transmissions further describe the chaotic aftermath in which many victims rushed to hospitals as officers arrived and struggled to accurately count the number of injured.
Officers, responding to a ShotSpotter gunshot alert, arrived while the shooter was still firing. “They’re still shooting,” an officer said over the radio.
Glen Brooks, director of community policing for the Chicago Police Department, said the entire neighborhood will need to heal from the “trauma” of the shooting.
“If we don’t solve this problem, we know that people who get hurt can hurt other people,” Brooks said at the news conference. “We’re trying to break that cycle.”
Brooks said an emergency assistance center would provide resources to those affected by the shooting. The center will open Tuesday at Young Men’s Educational Network, 1241 S. Pulaski Road.
The party took place at Studio 1258, an art gallery that Betancourt said has “a history of hosting unlicensed events.” Police said Studio 1258 would be closed under the city’s summary closure order, which gives the department the authority to immediately close businesses associated with the violence.
The business, located at 1258 S. Pulaski Road, has already received a cease-and-desist order and citations for operating without proper licenses, a spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said in a statement.
A person associated with the company could not be contacted.
Ivan Capifali, the agency’s first deputy commissioner, said the BACP would wait for the conclusion of the police investigation before launching its own investigation.
Sunday’s attack was the largest mass shooting recorded in Chicago so far this year.
In the Ogden District — which includes parts of the Little Village, North Lawndale and Heart of Chicago neighborhoods — shootings and homicides continued to decline, reflecting a citywide trend.
Shootings in the District dropped 22% from the same period last year, from 179 to 140 through Oct. 22, according to police department statistics. Murders fell 9% over the same period, from 34 to 31.
However, local Ald. Monique Scott said she is concerned that “senseless” acts of violence are becoming “normalized” in the 24th District. “I don’t know whether to scream or cry,” she told reporters.
After the press conference, community members gathered near the scene of the shooting. Reshorna Fitzpatrick, executive pastor of Historic Stone Temple in North Lawndale, led a prayer.
“My heart is so heavy because it doesn’t have to be this way,” Fitzpatrick said after the rally.