Three Stabbed in Fight at July Fourth Celebration in Chicago

By Reuters
July 5, 2019US News
Three Stabbed in Fight at July Fourth Celebration in Chicago
Stock photo of ambulance (The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan)

CHICAGO—Three people were stabbed and seriously injured during a fight at an Independence Day fireworks show in Chicago and more than a dozen were injured as many of the crowd fled, police and media reports said on Friday.

A brawl broke out among a group of gang members on Thursday evening on the Navy Pier, a 3,300-foot long pier along Chicago’s Lake Michigan shoreline and a premier venue for community events, according to police. People had gathered there for a July Fourth fireworks display.

Two unidentified teenage boys were among the victims. A 14-year-old was stabbed in the arm and ribs, and a 15-year-old was stabbed in the armpit, police said. Both were involved in the fight, police said.

A 30-year-old man who was not part of the brawl was inadvertently stabbed in the face, police said.

Police said they were looking for at least two unidentified suspects, but that no charges have been filed.

Chicago Police Spokesman Rocco Alito said officers believe that after that altercation someone threw firecrackers at the pier and others yelled “gun” or “shots fired,” spurring the “stampede.”

As many as 14 people were injured as they tried to flee the false report of gunfire, including one person who suffered a puncture wound from an overturned table, said Sgt. Alioto. They were taken to hospital but Alioto said their injuries were not life-threatening.

Police said the two victims involved in the initial brawl were not cooperating with officials. Alioto gave no detail on the extent of their injuries, but media reports said at least one person was in critical condition.

Rachel Schar, who’s a server at the waterfront restaurant Harry Caray’s Tavern, said that during ensuing panic crowds of visitors swarmed the restaurant for at least 10 minutes to escape what they believed was an active shooter at the pier.

“It was pure chaos,” the 22-year-old told the Chicago Tribune. “I literally thought I was going to die.”

Schar said she was collecting credit cards from a party table when she heard screaming, shoes rapidly pounding the pavement and shouts about a gun and people stabbed outside. She said she was tackled during that pandemonium and then sprinted upstairs into an office.

Toddlers in Critical Condition After Fireworks Explode

In another tragic incident on July 4, two toddlers are in critical condition after fireworks exploded in their family pickup, set off by gunfire during a road rage shooting.

The incident in Houston, Texas occurred on the night of July 4.

“The car that was struck was occupied by a Hispanic female of four: a mom, dad, a 1-year-old, and one 3-year-old,”  wrote Ed Gonzalez in a statement on Twitter. “Family had bought fireworks. It is believed gunfire struck the fireworks causing them to ignite. The father drove off briefly, but car engulfed in flames.”

According to KHOU, investigators said the family got into a dispute with another driver when they were driving along in their pickup.

After pulling over at a gas station, the two male drivers got out and exchanged words.

The gas station on West Mt. Houston Road, Houston. (Screenshot / Google Maps)

When the other driver revealed a firearm, the father got back in his pickup to leave. That’s when the gunman opened fire.

The family was rescued by some good samaritans who took them to a community ER, according to the Sheriff’s office.

The suspected shooter, who was traveling with a woman and children fled the scene in his vehicle, said Gonzalez.

“Toddlers sustained major burns & had to be life-flighted. Both are in critical condition. Dad was also injured. All info is preliminary at this time,” wrote Gonzalez.

The police have security footage of the incident, taken from the gas station, but have not currently released it.

Video footage of the truck, in flames on the highway, was obtained by and posted to Twitter.

The Fire Marshall’s office said in a statement that it is investigating the fire, and said that all four occupants of the vehicle had been burned, confirming that the burns had occurred when fireworks inside the car went off due to the gunshots.

The Fire Marshall’s office is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that could help solve the crime.

The Associated Press and Epoch Times reporter Simon Veazey contributed to this article.

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