A man charged in connection with a shooting that wounded 13 people at a house party in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood over the weekend told police he found a gun on the porch of the home and grabbed it "out of fear of the situation and neighborhood," prosecutors said in court Monday.
Marciano White, 37, was taken into custody Sunday and charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, according to police. He was ordered held on $300,000 bond Monday.
Authorities said the shooting took place at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday in the 5700 block of South May Street. Police said people were gathered inside a home for a memorial celebration of a man killed in a shooting earlier this month. An argument inside that home turned into a barrage of gunfire, which then spilled out into the street, according to police.
As people fled the party, someone then began firing at people as they left the home. Then, someone fired at a vehicle that was driving down the street at the time.
"It looked like they were just shooting randomly at people as they exited the party," Bureau of Patrol Chief Fred Waller said.
A total of 13 people were shot, officials said, with one of the victims refusing treatment at the scene for a graze wound to the chest, while the other 12 were taken to area hospitals.
The victims ranged in age from as young as 16 to as old as 48 years old. A 21-year-old man was listed in critical condition after being shot in the lower back, according to police. Eight others were listed in serious condition, with three people in good condition, officials said.
When officers arrived at the scene, police said they saw White attempting to flee. They looked inside his bag and found a Colt .357 Magnum revolver loaded with five live rounds and one spent shell casing, prosecutors said.
As he was being taken into custody, White told police he was at the party with his girlfriend when he heard that someone had a gun. As people started to flee, he hid in a closet and heard multiple shots fired, he told officers. As he eventually fled, he said he saw the gun on the stairs and grabbed it "out of fear of the situation and the neighborhood."
According to prosecutors, they are still waiting for the results of ballistics tests from the shooting as well as a gunshot residue test from White.
Police said they believe there were at least two gunmen involved in the shooting, and the investigation remains ongoing.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the incident a "terrible act of cowardice" during a news conference Sunday night after meeting with the victims at multiple area hospitals.
“This is the only way we’re going to bring down violence in this city, is if people come together and say they’re not going to tolerate this kind of bloodshed,” she continued. “We urge them to overcome their fears and come forward with information so police can track down those who were responsible for this terrible act of cowardice.”