According to the Gun Violence Archive, 13 mass shootings have occurred so far during the Memorial Day long weekend in the U.S. The organization classifies a “mass shooting” as an incident in which at least four victims are injured, killed or shot.
Police officers patrolling the area responded to the Tennessee shooting just before 11 p.m. after hearing shots ring out near the city’s riverfront.
“The officers observed multiple parties fire and then they observed multiple victims who had been hit by the gunfire,” Chattanooga Police Department Chief Celeste Murphy said at a news conference on Sunday.
Among the six victims, four were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, but two remain in critical condition, Murphy said.
“Kids have always gotten into scuffles with each other,” Mayor Tim Kelly said. “What is new is they now have access to handguns and firearms.
“Easy access to illegal guns is killing kids.”
On the night of the shooting, city officials said many groups of children were roaming around downtown, which prompted officers to patrol the area even before the shooting started.
An altercation between two groups led to the shooting, though fire was not exchanged on both sides as authorities previously thought. Murphy said two suspected shooters from the same side opened fire on the other group.
Investigators believe there was only one intended target in the shooting; the other casualties were unintended.
One person of interest was detained overnight for questioning but has since been ruled out as a suspect, Murphy said.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance video to try and identify the shooters and uncover the motive for the shooting.
“They’ve been able to determine two groups were beginning to converge on one another in what appears to have been some type of altercation,” Murphy said.
“At this time it does not seem to be any connection to anything gang-related. That’s not been officially ruled out, but there’s nothing indicating that at this time.”
In the wake of the shooting, Kelly is calling on parents to be responsible for their firearms and be active in knowing where their child is at night.
“If you know your kid has access to a firearm, you must intervene before someone, perhaps even your own child, ends up dead,” he said.
Kelly said he will work with city council to invest in youth mentorship and violence prevention programs.
Shooting rocks Memorial Day festival in Oklahoma
Just hours after the shooting in Tennessee, gun violence erupted in Taft, Okla., leading to the death of a 39-year-old woman and leaving seven others wounded, including a nine-year-old child.
The shooting occurred early Sunday at a Memorial Day festival with around 1,500 people in attendance, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).
Witnesses said gunfire broke out just after midnight when an argument turned violent. One person was killed and seven people aged nine to 56 sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
A suspect in the shooting, 26-year-old Skyler Buckner, turned himself in to the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office at around 4 p.m. on Sunday. Police have not yet announced any charges against Buckner.
Baby killed in drive-by shooting
A one-year-old boy is dead after being shot in a drive-by shooting in downtown Pittsburgh.
Police responded to the 100 block of Fourth Avenue around 2:45 p.m. on Sunday after “numerous 911 calls for shots fired in the area,” Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Cristyn Zett told reporters. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene.
Zett said the boy was with his mother at the time of the shooting, but it was not made clear who else was present, or if there was a connection between the shooter and the child.
The investigation is ongoing and no other details have been released.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 229 mass shootings have occurred so far in the U.S. since the start of 2022. In that time, nearly 18,000 people have died from gun violence in America.
These Memorial Day shootings come less than a week after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
About a week before that shooting, a different 18-year-old killed 10 people in Buffalo after opening fire in and around a grocery store in a predominantly Black community. The attack was hate-motivated, say authorities.