22 Injured, 1 Dead in Willowbrook, Illinois

  • At least 22 people were hurt and one was killed in a Sunday mass shooting at a Juneteenth event.
  • An unknown number of suspects opened fire in a strip mall parking lot in Willowbrook, Illinois.
  • The search for suspects is ongoing, police officials said.

At least 22 people were injured and one is dead after a shooter opened fire Sunday at a Juneteenth celebration in suburban Chicago, The New York Times reported.

Shortly after midnight local time, an unknown number of suspects fired multiple rounds from multiple weapons into a crowd in a parking lot in Willowbrook, Illinois, about 21 miles outside of Chicago, police officials said in a news release. The search for the suspects is ongoing.

People had gathered to celebrate Juneteenth, a day that marks the end of slavery in the United States. The first Juneteenth celebrations took place in 1866 in Texas, where a year earlier, a Union Army general declared that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, were free by executive decree. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a law establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Police cordon off the area where at least one person was killed and 22 others wounded in a shooting just after midnight Sunday at a large Juneteenth celebration in a strip mall parking lot in Willowbrook, Illinois.

It’s unclear what led to the gunfire in a strip mall parking lot in Willowbrook, Illinois.

Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

What began as a peaceful gathering in Willowbrook on Saturday night turned terrifying before the morning.

The celebration began around 6 p.m. local time in a strip mall parking lot near Hinsdale Lake Terrace apartments, the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release, according to The New York Times and CNN. Police had been monitoring the event, and left around 12:25 a.m. after receiving a call about a fight nearby. They heard gunshots ring out and returned to the celebration, the statement said.

“The motive behind this incident is unclear and this is still an active investigation,” DuPage County Deputy Sheriff Eric Swanson told reporters at a press conference Sunday.

The deceased person has not been identified. It’s unclear the ages and conditions of the wounded victims.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to an Insider request for comment.

On Sunday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a statement, saying, “Gathering for a holiday celebration should be a joyful occasion, not a time where gunfire erupts and families are forced to run for safety.”

“As I’ve said time and time again, gun violence is a public health emergency in this country and I remain committed to banning these dangerous weapons and making our state safer for everyone,” he added.

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