West Side

EXCLUSIVE: Homeowner Reacts After Massive Chicago House Party Goes Viral

The homeowner was working a 24-hour shift as a first responder when her son threw a large gathering that went viral

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A Chicago homeowner says she was working a 24-hour shift as a first responder when her son threw a massive house party that ultimately went viral.

"I was astounded when I saw the video," the homeowner told NBC 5 in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous because of her occupation, was cited by police Monday over the gathering. She said she didn't know the party was held until police arrived hours later.

"I came home, my house was clean, nothing was out of place," she said. "And after that, some police came to my house and said, 'Were you aware that it was a party at your house?' And I was like, 'No, I wasn't aware.' And then they showed me the video."

Shocking video of an apparent house party in Chicago amid the coronavirus pandemic drew national attention and outrage from local leaders. Sandra Torres reports.

The woman said she was furious with her son because she hasn't seen her family in weeks in order to maintain social distancing due to risks associated with her job.

"I haven't seen my family in two months because I don't want.. because of my job I don't want to expose them to anything," she said. "So if I'm doing social distancing, then I most definitely don't condone this type of behavior."

The woman's 26-year-old son told NBC 5 he had asked 20 to 30 people to come celebrate the lives of two friends who became victims of gun violence in Chicago. That number quickly ballooned to nearly 200.

Janeal Wright admitted he knew his mother would be at work at the time. Wright apparently deactivated the home’s video doorbell, so that his mother wouldn’t get notified of the increased activity at the house.

"With us being young, us being millennials, like the mayor said, we didn't really know how severe this was," he said. "It really hasn't been hitting home for us like that, but now I see the error of everything."

The party was the subject of a now-viral video that showed dozens of people crammed into the West Side residence, a violation of the state’s "stay-at-home" order currently in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chicago police say that officers were dispatched to the residence just after midnight Sunday morning.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted the partygoers, saying their reckless behavior in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was "distressing." 

"They put themselves at risk, but not only that, every single person there who put themselves at risk puts the next person and the next person that they come into contact with at risk," she said. "That’s why, for me, that scene is so distressing."

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was asked a series of questions Monday about everything from playing Chicago baseball without fans to a viral video that showed a large weekend house party on the city’s West Side.

State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford said he disagreed with the decision to cite the homeowner.

"I’m hoping that she is not penalized for something that her young children did," Ford had said earlier Monday.

Ford says that approximately 150 people were in attendance at the party.

"The young people should get tested and learn from that mistake that they made," he said.

Chicago police have advised the Chicago Department of Public Health about the incident, and the department plans to follow up on the incident to "ensure any health risks that could have arisen from this party are monitored and mitigated," according to a statement.

Those measures do not include testing party-goers, but they could still be tested if they begin showing symptoms of the virus.

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