What was supposed to be an exciting time turned into a terrifying night for the more than 200 people who attended a Halloween party in Joliet Township early Sunday morning.
Two people were fatally shot and more than a dozen others sustained injured when shots erupted at approximately 12:30 a.m. in the backyard of a residence near the intersection of Jackson Street and Walnut Street, according to the Will County Sheriff's Office.
Two men opened fire on the crowd from an elevated porch, authorities said, unleashing mayhem and prompting partygoers to run for cover.
"Everyone was having a good time, we were back there dancing, and then all of the sudden a group of people just started firing shots, and everyone fell to the floor," said Adolfo Sandoval, who attended the party.
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The area was blocked off by crime scene tape Sunday afternoon when Sandoval returned to search for belongings he lost while running away from gunfire.
"When they started shooting, I felt the ricochet of the bullets and when I started feeling them I pushed my girlfriend to the side and I fell with her," he recounted. "As I’m getting back up people just started stomping on me, running me over."
A sergeant with the Will County Sheriff's Office was nearby at the time and heard between approximately 10 to 12 gunshots. The sergeant responded to the area where the gunfire had been located, and observed more than 100 individuals fleeing the scene, running eastbound on Jackson Street, according to the sheriff's office.
Officers responding to the scene located numerous victims, and began to perform lifesaving measures and began to treat wounds. While those officers were on the scene, additional gunshots rang out, according to authorities.
Of those injured, four sustained life-threatening gunshot wounds, police stated.
Hours after the frightening situation, Sandoval counted his blessings, knowing the outcome was much worse for so many others.
"I just feel bad for the innocent, innocent people there. It didn’t have to be like that you know what I mean?" he said.
Detectives with the Will County Sheriff’s Office are coordinating with the Will/Grundy Major Crimes Task Force to investigate the shooting.
Officials say that they are searching for at least two shooters. One of the men is described as an Hispanic male with facial hair. The man was wearing a red hoodie, a black flat-billed hat and dark pants. The second shooter was described as an “averaged-sized, light-skinned Black male or Hispanic man,” and was wearing a yellow hoodie and a ski mask.
Anyone with information, cellphone pictures or videos, or potential information on the suspects is asked to call the Will County Sheriff’s Office. Will County officials also have set up an anonymous tip line on their website. Individuals who wish to remain anonymous can also call Will County Crime Stoppers at 800-323-6734.