PARK FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Four people were recovering Sunday night after they were shot at a private party at a theater in south suburban Park Forest.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, police late Sunday had yet to catch the assailant or assailants who shot the four victims – and who caused a lot of damage in the normally quiet downtown area in Park Forest.READ MORE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Backs Declaring Juneteenth An Official City Holiday Starting Next Year
Police said the shooting occurred shortly after 1 a.m. outside Theater 47, at 371 Artists Walk in the south suburb – where a private event was being held.
A night later, Michael Blakeley held onto a bullet fragment – a reminder of what greeted him at his barbershop nearby.
“Two shattered windows, a lot of glass everywhere, and bullet holes in the wall,” Blakeley said.
There were also blood stains on the concrete outside. Police told Blakeley they found 25 shell casings near the shop.
“I moved out here to get away from all of this,” he said.
Blakeley’s barbershop is doors down Theater 47 – one of the many Black-owned businesses in the strip mall-like downtown.
“The atmosphere is pretty much laid back and mellow,” Blakeley said.
But in that incident early Sunday morning, police said a fight inside the theater during the private party led to bloodshed. Social media videos show dancing and drinking before the shooting.
Four people were injured: a 29-year-old Matteson man, a 31-year-old Country Club Hills man, a 30-year-old Harvey woman, and a 33-year-old Country Club Hills man.READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: How Much Will Your Monthly Check Be?
Two of the victims suffered serious injuries, but none are believed to be life-threatening.
“That’s the first time anything ever happened like that over there,” Blakeley said.
We asked for past crime records from Park Forest police at the venue. They claim to have only two calls for service since last year – one was intoxication.
A partygoer who posted a video said over the phone that the party Saturday night was one of her first there. She said Chicago-area promoters just started booking the venue from the owner.
The venue’s website touts its pride for mainly putting on plays. An ad on the Theater’s Instagram has a post about renting, which has been up since February.
As businesses just try to switch gears and stay afloat, many in downtown Park Forest hoping it can be done safely.
“We’ve just got to do better as a community,” Blakeley said. “We are all Black entrepreneurs, and we do this to bring things back to the community. So it’s disappointing when you see something like this happen.”
Graves reached out multiple times to the theater. Someone who answered the phone hung up on him.
Park Forest Mayor Jonathan Vanderbilt said more police patrols are in place downtown.MORE NEWS: Decision Delayed Again On Mental Health Treatment In Jail For Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman
Meanwhile, the investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309. Callers may remain anonymous.