Update August 28: CPD Interim Supt. Fred Waller said today that police now believe the gunfire likely originated within the ballpark.
CHICAGO — A bullet that struck two women at a Chicago White Sox game on Friday evening may have landed inside the ballpark after being fired a mile away, activating a ShotSpotter.
That’s the current line of thinking among Chicago cops tasked with investigating the incident, which unfolded a little before 7:30 p.m. as the Sox were blistered by the Oakland Athletics.
“What started out as a teacher celebration of the first week of school escalated quickly,” a woman seated near injured fans wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post.
The victims, a 42-year-old woman and a 26-year-old woman, were struck as they sat in the bleachers near left center field. Police said the older woman was in fair condition at the University of Chicago Medical Center with a gunshot wound to her leg. The other woman declined medical attention for a graze wound to her abdomen.
There were no reports of gunfire within the ballpark, and CPD said there was never an active threat. So, police are exploring the possibility that the bullet plunged into the ballpark from above.
In a statement tweeted after 1 a.m. Saturday, the team said the incident “did not involve an altercation of any kind.”
“It is unclear to investigators whether the shots were fired from outside or inside the ballpark,” the team wrote.
A CPD ShotSpotter gunfire detector alerted to nine rounds fired in a back yard in the 300 block of West 42nd Place at 7:22 p.m., according to police dispatch records. That’s about a mile due south of the ballpark. A preliminary police media statement said the women were struck at 7:25 p.m.
Officers, unaware of what transpired inside Guaranteed Rate Field, responded to the ShotSpotter alarm but found nothing out of the ordinary.
A woman who was seated with the two victims wrote on Facebook that she was also “barely” grazed by the bullet.
She said she was with a group of teachers and was speaking with a co-worker when they heard a noise “like when you fill a water bottle with air and twist it and the cap comes off” followed by the ping of something hitting the metal bleacher.
“I felt a pinch in my back … sure enough I picked up a damn bullet,” said the post, which was accompanied by photos, including one of a largely undamaged bullet.
“I am AMAZED how the rest of the ballpark had [zero] idea of what happened. No one got evacuated, nobody knew NOTHING…NOTHING! Absurd. They quickly cleared my section … but never notified anyone of anything the game just went on.”
Video posted to Twitter on Saturday morning showed no signs of trouble as the women were injured. Other fans continued watching the game and walking the aisles without any indication that they heard gunfire. In this video, the women are directly above the “m” in “State Farm,” about halfway up the screen. They appear to react to the bullet at the 12-second mark.
About 22,000 people endured the game in anticipation of a post-contest concert by 90s musical acts Vanilla Ice, Tone Loc, and Rob Base. Sox officials canceled the show hours after the shooting, citing “technical issues” in a written announcement posted on the stadium’s big screen.
“Right before they started to put up the scaffolding for the concert, Sox Park was declared a crime scene, and that’s why the concert was canceled,” a source within the team’s organization said.
In a media statement issued early Saturday, Chicago police asked anyone with information about the incident to contact Area One detectives at 312-747-8380 or online through CPDTIP.com