Three men shot at point-blank range during an auto racing event in southeastern Wisconsin all had gang ties in Illinois, police revealed Monday, but it remains unclear if the shooting was in fact gang-related.
The three victims, identified as David Watson, Khalid Howard and Derek Edwards, were from the Chicago suburbs of Aurora, North Aurora and Oswego.
"The fact that all three belonged to a gang and they all seemed to be quite well-known by gang officers in other locations where they come from leads me to believe that somehow this was gang-related," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth. "But as far as any collaborating evidence at this moment, I'm not aware of anything that we have that will confirm that."
Deputies continued to scour the Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove Monday searching for evidence. No suspects have been arrested in the killings.
Authorities responded to the Great Lakes Dragaway around 7 p.m. Sunday after receiving reports that shots had been fired.
A man shot the three at point-blank range near a food vendor, Beth said at a news conference Sunday night. No one else was injured.
"He had enough time and enough arrogance to actually go back up and make sure they were dead," Beth said.
Two of the men died at the scene and the third died while being transported to a hospital.
The aftermath of the shooting was captured on video and Beth said police are aware of the footage and are searching for any other video that may have been taken.
Descriptions of the suspect appear to differ, police said, though authorities estimate several dozen people saw the suspect at some point Sunday.
The sheriff encouraged any witnesses to the shooting to contact his department.
"A lot of people may not have wanted to come up and talk to the sheriff's department initially because maybe they were afraid someone was going to see them," Beth said. "So what I'm hoping happens is someone who knows what's going on or saw what happened will call us, give us more information and help us catch the individual who did this."
The sheriff's office estimated that more than 5,000 people were at the raceway for an event known as "Larry's Fun Fest." The track's website shows the event included drag racing, tailgating, live entertainment and a car show.
"When I came here there were a lot of families, there were people of all ages and it looked - at least the intent was - to give people that weren’t normally from here a chance to come here and have some fun," Beth said.
"I wish I knew more about why they were shot here and why this place was chosen," he added.
Union Grove is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Milwaukee.
"This was an issue that came from Illinois, moved up here," Beth said.