Tragedy at Chicago Juneteenth Celebration: 23 Shot, 1 Dead, Cops Say; “Two Different Groups Of People” Were Firing At Each Other

Chicago Suburb Juneteenth
Three Black Men Hold Fists in the Air During a Peaceful Protest Juneteenth Rally in Daley Plaza in the Loop of Downtown Chicago over George Floyd Death. File photo: Untitled Title, Shutter Stock, licensed.

WILLOWBROOK, IL – A Juneteenth celebration in a Chicago suburb over the weekend turned into tragedy when a gathering in an area strip mall erupted into gunfire that left 23 shot and one dead, according to police, continuing the streak of violence and death that has plagued the beleaguered city for some time now. 

Following Chicago’s most deadly Memorial Day weekend in history – during which 53 were shot and 11 killed – an unknown number of suspects opened fire upon a Juneteenth event held at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Saturday in Willowbrook, Illinois. Sheriff’s deputies had previously been at the scene to monitor the gathering, but left to respond to a nearby 911 call; however, upon hearing the gunfire, they immediately rushed back to the parking lot. 

Police say the majority of those shot were hit while attempting to run away from the gunfire; most of the injuries sustained were non-life-threatening, but two victims are listed as being in critical condition and one currently-unidentified victim was killed.  

According to a witness, Bartosz Majerczyk, it appears that “two different groups of people” were firing at each other, and the individuals in the Juneteenth were caught in the crossfire. 

Out of nowhere, there was a major gunfight for like 30 seconds,” Majerczyk said. “I’d say, 60 plus rounds. You could tell it was two different groups of people shooting at each other.” 

As of Monday, the strip mall where the shooting took place – which individuals who live in the area say often attracts large gatherings in its parking lot – is closed while the police investigation continues; authorities are currently unsure of a motive for the incident. 

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson remarked on the horrific shooting, saying that “we must remain committed to addressing gun violence in our city and neighboring communities.” 

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