‘I Hit the Ground:' Witnesses Recount Chaotic Moments During Fatal Kankakee Shooting

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A suburban community is reeling after authorities say two gang members were killed in a shootout that took place just steps from a county courthouse, forcing bystanders to duck for cover.

According to police in suburban Kankakee, three members of the Latin Kings gang got involved in a gun battle on Thursday morning outside of the county courthouse.

Miguel and Victor Andrade were exiting the courthouse after a hearing when 24-year-old Antonio Hernandez of Waukegan began firing shots.

Authorities say that Victor Andrade was struck by gunfire, and later died from his injuries.

Miguel Andrade apparently ran to his vehicle and pulled out a weapon of his own, and began to chase Hernandez. He allegedly struck Hernandez with gunfire, killing him as well.

Another person was struck by gunfire, and is being treated at an area hospital. Miguel Andrade is in police custody Thursday evening.

Two people died and a third was injured in a shooting early Thursday near the Cook County Courthouse. NBC 5's Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

Now, a community is left shocked and scared by the brazen act of violence, which occurred in broad daylight.

Dawn Martinez says her relatives were involved in the shooting.

“They were warned not to come to court,” she said. “And they came anyway. They were told if they came, something would go down. That’s when all the shooting started.”

Attorney Eric Davis was at the courthouse when gunfire began to ring out.

“I heard several shots,” he said. “I saw someone laying in the street here. Saw someone in the parking lot between the courthouse and probation (office), completely unresponsive.”

“I just had to hit the ground,” eyewitness Gus Johnson added. “I hit the ground. I was terrified for my life.”

Authorities in Kankakee say that the shooting was part of a long-running feud within the Latin Kings gang in the community.

“This is a long ongoing feud. This is one way they thought they could solve it,” Kankakee Police Chief Robin Passman said.

The Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office says court proceedings, which were canceled after the shooting Thursday, will resume as scheduled on Friday. Grief counselors will be available for staffers who were present in the building at the time of the attack.

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