Three "persons of interest" were in custody shortly after a Monday evening shooting outside a church in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood where volunteers were serving dinner to the homeless, the neighborhood's alderman said Tuesday.
Police wouldn't confirm that detail but police Supt. Garry McCarthy said officials "know who the players are."
"It's very clearly gang-related," he said at Chicago Police Headquarters. "We're looking at a couple of different angles."
Five people were injured in the shooting, four of them critically, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said in an email alert to residents. Police said Monday night that one person was killed in the shooting but later clarified that victim was in extremely critical condition.
More than 20 bullet casings were left in the busy intersection after the victims, all males, were transported to nearby hospitals.
"I saw when a man got shot in the head there was a puddle of blood," Na'eem Hoskins said of the 6 p.m. shooting at North Sheridan Road and West Wilson Avenue. "I saw another man got shot in the stomach, and he was just hollering and screaming."
Cappleman said three of the shooting victims had known gang affiliations from Chicago's south and west sides. A fourth victim was with those three, he said, and the fifth victim was believed to be homeless.
Witnesses said shots rang out as a car drove through the area, which is one of Chicago Public Schools' Safe Passage routes designed to give students a protected path to and from school.
"It looked like a war had took place," said Joseph Rogers, a security guard at the nearby Uptown Shop & Save market. "There was blood everywhere. There was glass on the ground from the bus stop. There was one guy sitting on the ground shot in the leg."
At least one of the victims stumbled to the stairs of the Uptown Baptist Church, where at least 40 parishioners from Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington were volunteering.
"A lady, she was smiling walking out the door, and a moment later she turned around and came running back in with tears," recalled volunteer Cary Annen.
The South Barrington volunteers were left trying to find alternate ways home.
"Our vans and cars that we came in are part of the police tape line now, part of the crime scene," one of the volunteers said.
Cappleman said police were reviewing surveillance footage from a nearby police camera as well as from nearby businesses.
The shooting comes after a violent weekend that left at least six people killed and 27 others wounded. Among the victims was a 7-year-old boy who was shot as he walked his bicycle up to his home.
It also comes a week after two people were shot, one fatally, along another Safe Passage route on the city's south side.
Bout 20 shots fired outside church during Monday night meal. 5 people shot. 1 dead. Blood pools at church steps. Pray for us.
— Michael Allen (@ubcreal) August 19, 2013