By Amy Simonson, Aya Elamroussi and Rebekah Riess, CNN
A shootout that left one person dead and four others injured in Chicago was the result of retaliatory violence between two rival gangs, police Superintendent David Brown said Wednesday.
First responders were interrupted by a crowd of people when they arrived Tuesday in the South Side neighborhood and tried to provide first aid, police Commander Don Jerome of the Ninth District said.
“Officers immediately attempted to perform life-saving measures on those that were shot, and they were met by a hostile crowd,” Jerome said at a Tuesday news conference. “Members from the community and gang members from this crowd were actively fighting the police while they were trying to attend to the victims.”
One person died, and two others suffered critical injuries, he said. The other two people who were shot are in stable condition, police said. No officers were injured, Jerome said.
In an update Wednesday, Brown said two officers were “battered” by two individuals, who were then arrested for battery to a police officer. Two rifles were recovered at the scene, Brown said, as were several casings from fired weapons.
The shooting was part of a broader recent trend of rising retaliatory violence between two rival gangs, the superintendent said. Members from one gang were in a car when they saw members from the rival gang, he said, and the groups immediately exchanged gunfire.
After analyzing private video taken from the scene, police discovered that a vehicle fled the scene and crashed several blocks away, Jerome said Tuesday. Police are searching for the occupants of that vehicle and no arrests have been made at this time, the police commander said.
The violence between the two gangs has been escalating since April, Brown said, following the killing of one high-ranking gang member’s brother. The sibling was killed in April, Brown said, and police believe the killing was carried out by the rival gang.
The high-ranking gang member, who was previously let out on federal parole after three years in prison, was arrested by police in March for possession of a weapon by a felon, Brown said. He has been free on a cash bond.
The police department is now in discussion with the US Attorney’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office about revoking his bond, Brown said, and “get him back, this high-ranking gang member who’s driving this violence as retaliation for his brother’s murder.”
Chicago saw a slight uptick in shootings last year, when 3,561 shootings were reported compared to 3,258 in 2020, data from the Chicago Police Department shows.
This year, there have been 779 shootings as of the week ending May 8, which means shootings are down 13% compared with the same time last year, the data shows.
On a broader scale, 2020 was the year the US saw the highest firearm homicide rate since 1994, according to data published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The overall firearm homicide rate increased about 35% between 2019 and 2020, the CDC report said.
In 2020, 79% of all homicides involved guns, according to the CDC, which is somewhat higher than during the preceding five years.
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CNN’s Dakin Andone contributed to this report.