(CLEVELAND) — Nine people were shot early Sunday in Cleveland’s historic Warehouse District when a gunman opened fire as bars and nightclubs were closing and police officers were nearby patrolling the bustling entertainment area, according to the Cleveland Police Department.
Police officers were on weekend patrol in the Warehouse District when they heard gunshots erupt at 2:25 a.m. They discovered multiple victims at the corner of West 6th Street and Johnson Court suffering from gunshot wounds and in need of medical aid, police said.
Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond said at a news conference Sunday that several officers were on duty in the area when an “individual started shooting toward the crowd.”
“I stress, we had officers assigned here … a very visible presence of officers, yet this individual decided to use that weapon and shot individuals even with our officers here,” Drummond said. “So it’s not a matter of police response. It’s not a matter of police visibility because we were here and we will continue to be here.”
Cmdr. Richard Tucker of the Cleveland Police Department said the gunman opened fire 50 to 75 feet away from the crowd he targeted before fleeing the scene.
“I’m really proud of our officers. They were here and they responded immediately. They ran to the gunfire and took care of the victims until EMS could respond,” Drummond said. “I hope what they did helped save some of those victims.”
No arrests have been announced and a motive for the shooting remains under investigation, police said.
“Investigators are in the process of reviewing evidence and video, as well as interviewing victims at MetroHealth Medical Center,” according to the police statement.
One victim was in critical condition Sunday afternoon while the others were in serious to stable condition, police said.
Of the nine victims, seven are men and two are women, officials said. The victims ranged in age from 23 to 38.
The victims were all being treated at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
Drummond said the preliminary investigation indicates the shooting came without warning and no apparent provocation.
“We have no information, at least right now, from our investigators that there was any type of issues or concerns, or trouble taking place … before this individual started shooting,” Drummond said.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the gunman, authorities said.
Police asked anyone with information about the shooting to call them immediately.
Drummond said investigators are following several leads in an attempt to identify the gunman.
Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb said he was thankful no one was killed and that shooting illustrates “the massive gun problem we have not just in Cleveland, not just in Ohio, but across this nation.”
Drummond said police are also investigating a shooting that occurred at 1:10 a.m. Sunday on West 6th Street in the neighboring Tremont area in which three men were wounded. The chief said investigators have found no evidence connecting that shooting with the mass casualty incident that erupted 95 minutes later.
“From what we know right now, there was some kind of street party and an argument ensued. An individual pulled out a firearm and started shooting and three individuals were struck there,” Drummond said, adding that all three victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
No arrests have been announced in the Tremont neighborhood shooting.
The shooting came just days after 22 mass shootings occurred across the nation over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a website that tracks shootings nationwide and defines a mass shooting as a single event with four or more victims either injured or killed. The mass shootings, according to the website, occurred in 17 states and Washington, D.C., and rocked several major cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas.
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