Deadly Hammond Shooting Leads To Mayor Ending Festival

The mayor expressed regret over approving the annual privately run festival.

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The Hammond Police Department is investigating a shooting that left two men dead and two others injured over the Fourth of July weekend.

In response to the shooting, the city’s mayor has vowed to end the “Hammond Day” festival, a privately run event that takes place in Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Bullets were found in homes, cars and a community center in the area of the 5900 block of Wallace Road.

Police say officers responded at 12:30 a.m. on July 4, but resident Anne Herbert recalled the gunfire going off around 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 3.

“Even when I was on the 911 call, I could hear gunfire,” Herbert said. “I heard the glass shatter.”

Not only did a bullet shatter the window just feet from where she was standing, Herbert says her car was hit multiple times.

“I ducked. I went to the bedroom to grab my phone and went downstairs to call 911,” she stated.

Just feet away, the Ophelia Steen Family and Health Services Center had a bullet tear through an exam room.

Albertine Dent, the community center's director, said she plans to give the Hammond Police Department video footage on Tuesday to help with the investigation.

“To have this type of event to happen, not only in our community, but at our center, is really mind blowing at this time,” Dent said.

It’s unclear why the shooting took place but Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. has committed to canceling future “Hammond Day” events at MLK park.

In a lengthy Facebook post, the mayor expressed disappointment over the event, linking the shooting with the large gathering. He stated that the Board of Pubic Works and Safety called the event “unorganized” and “too big.”

In the post, he took the blame for approving the event after a 2019 shooting injured an attendee.

“They did not schedule this shooting. They did not plan it,” Dent said. “They did not invite these people over here to disrupt a wonderful event.”

But Herbert, who’s cleaning up the shattered window in her home, says she feels safer without the “pour over” from the event.

 “I definitely support it now, especially since we’ve been victims of what happened,” Herbert said.

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