Amid reports that Chicago activists may have warned police that a shooting was possible at a funeral where 15 people were wounded in the city's Gresham neighborhood Tuesday, Supt. David Brown said the department did have a presence in the area prior to the shootout.
According to Brown, two squad cars were stationed at the funeral home and an additional tact team was deployed to the area - standard protocol, he said, for funerals involving victims with potential gang ties.
"Every gang funeral with any evidence of any kind of gang affiliation is treated similar," he said, adding that such a presence would have been ordered "regardless of warnings given."
Chicago authorities said they "had intelligence" that the man being mourned by family and friends was killed in a drive-by shooting in the nearby Englewood neighborhood earlier this month.
"We investigated further and there was a gang connection and we deployed our resources accordingly," Brown said.
Authorities said they believe the shooting, which unfolded around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday outside a funeral home in the 1000 block of West 79th Street, involved a "cycle" of gang retaliation.
According to Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan, the funeral was for a man who had been fatally shot in a drive-by shooting, which was also retaliation for a previous shooting incident.
"The individuals involved in this tit for tat have no interest in cooperating," Deenihan said. "They just want to go on to the next shooting incident."
Police said gunmen in a black vehicle opened fire on people attending the funeral Tuesday evening. People at the funeral in turn fired back and the vehicle crashed midway down the block, where the suspects then fled, Deenihan said.
One person of interest was in custody shortly after the incident, police said.
Six victims were taken to three hospitals in serious condition, according to police: a 38-year-old man and 26-year-old woman at the University of Chicago Hospital, a 31-year-old man, a 32-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman at Advocate Christ Medical Center, as well as a 49-year-old woman at Stroger Hospital, officials said.
Nine people were listed in good condition, according to police: A 21-year-old woman at Little Company of Mary, a 24-year-old woman at St. Bernard and a 65-year-old woman who was treated on the scene. Three women, ages 37, 24 and 27, were all listed in good condition at the University of Chicago Hospital, according to police. Three others -- a 30-year-old woman, a 22-year-old man and a 31-year-old man -- were in good condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear if all of the victims were attending the funeral.
"Too many people in Chicago have been touched by gun violence and the response too often is picking up a gun to seek vengeance," Brown said. "There is no comfort in revenge."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called those responsible for the shooting "cowardly."
"The senseless violence, this cycle of retaliation, picking up a gun - many times in petty grievances - picking up a gun solves nothing but causes so much lifelong pain," she said Wednesday. "I pray for you but I also pray that we find you and that we bring you to justice."
Both the mayor and police pleaded for anyone who may have information on the shooting to come forward.
"This cycle of violence in Chicago needs to end," Brown said. "It ends when someone who has been hurt doesn't reach for a gun. It ends when instead someone calls our detectives, gives them a tip that might break a case open so we can hold people accountable in the criminal justice system."
The shooting took place just hours after Lightfoot confirmed that federal agents are being sent to the city to help curb violence.
As for questions over whether or not more officers should have been sent to the scene prior to the shooting, Brown said it's "in the wrong direction just to focus on funerals."
"Our strategy is to grow our deployment, the number of officers, in a centralized way so that we will have resources deployed and not just to recover guns and make gun arrests," he said.