Two people were killed and more than a dozen others injured in a spray of bullets into a crowded backyard dance floor at a Halloween party in Joliet Township early Sunday.
Police said that according to witnesses two shooters fired into a crowd at a party attended by about 200 people at 1018 E. Jackson St. at about 12:39 a.m.
Party goers described the shooting as gang-related, and one said shooters on an elevated porch were flashing gang signs with a group of dancers in a patio area before the gunfire started.
Four of the victims taken to hospitals with gunshot wounds had life-threatening injuries, Will County Sheriff’s police said.
Witnesses said it was a young crowd with party goers in their teens or 20s.
The chaotic scene included at least 100 people running onto the street to escape the scene. Police said they continued to hear gunshots in the immediate area when they were on the scene and emergency responders were treating victims.
“People had blood on their hands and on their clothes as they were running out,” said Adolfo Sandoval of Joliet, who said he was standing next to the porch when the gunfire started. “I heard the bullets ricochet and whistling. People fell to the floor. The ones who could got up and started running.”
Sandoval said he believed about 15 shots were fired. A neighbor said he thought he heard more than 20. A patrol officer in the area reported about a dozen shots. The gunfire was described as so rapid that it could not have come from one gun.
There could have been more than two shooters, Sandoval said. He said there were several people on the porch. Guns were showing from the waist of their pants, and they were not in costume. Gang signs were exchanged between the people on the porch and a group of dancers before the shooting started, he said.
Roberto Madrigal of Joliet said it was a Halloween costume party with party goers in costume.
Madrigal, too, said the shooting appeared to be gang-related.
“I remember what sounded like a firework,” Madrigal said. “Everybody paused for a second to see what it was. Then, the second gunshot – that’s when everyone reacted it.”
Some described two gunshots followed by a series of shots too fast to count exactly.
“I heard one-two shots first,” said a neighbor on Grinton Street. The house is located a few houses down from the corner of East Jackson and Grinton.
“Then you heard something like …,” and he made a fast clicking sound with his tongue. “Just a lot of gunfire.
Some of the people running away from the party were bleeding as they passed his house, he said.
He and a neighbor on East Jackson Street did not want to provide their names as they spoke outside their homes.
“I heard like 22 shots,” said the East Jackson Street neighbor said. He spent the night in his living room out of concern for what might happen when the party ended because of the numbers of cars in the street.
Cars started coming at about 10:30 a.m., he said.
“They blocked my driveway. They blocked everything,” he said.
The street was full of people running from the party after the gunfire, he said.
A Will County Sheriff’s police sergeant patrolling the area estimated about 100 people running down East Jackson street upon arrival at the scene, sheriff’s police said.
The sergeant heard 10 to 12 shots at about 12:39 a.m. while in the area of East Jackson and Walnut streets.
More police from the county and other police agencies arrived on the scene and found multiple people shot in the backyard and at nearby houses, sheriff’s police said.
According to police, one of the two shooters at the party was described as an average sized, Hispanic male with facial hair, wearing a red hoodie, a black flat billed hat, and dark pants. The other shooter is described as an average sized, light-skinned Black male or Hispanic wearing a yellow hoodie and ski mask.
The Will County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in trying to identify individuals that attended Halloween party. If anyone has information, cellphone pictures or video of the party, or potential suspect information, you are urged to contact the Will County Sheriff’s Office.
Contact Detective Danielle Strohm by phone at 815-727-8574, Ext. 4930 or by email at email@example.com.
Those who want to remain anonymous can use the Will County Sheriff’s website at www.willcosheriff.org/enforcement/submit-a-crime-tip, or on the Will County Sheriff’s Office App that is available in iOS and Android platforms. You can also contact Will County Crime Stoppers by telephone at 800-323-6734, or by computer at www.crimestoppersofwillcounty.org/submit-a-tip/.
This is a developing story. Check for updates.
Source: The Daily Chronicle