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Questions linger after 2 women were shot at Guaranteed Rate Field during White Sox game

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A shooting injured two women in the outfield seating area at Guaranteed Rate Field during Friday night’s White Sox game, Chicago police reported.

A police spokesperson on social media said late Friday that the department would soon provide information on a “shooting incident,” and a news release was made available early Saturday.

“This evening during the Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics game at Guaranteed Rate Field, a 42-year-old female victim sustained one gunshot wound to the leg. A 26-year-old female victim also sustained a graze wound to the abdomen,” the statement read. “The 42-year-old female was transported to University of Chicago Medical Center where she is listed in fair condition. The 26-year-old female refused medical attention.”

Wounded spectators and witnesses were seated in Section 161, in the left outfield, either within or near the stadium’s bleacher section, according to a police report.

The 42-year-old female was shot twice, in her right-upper thigh and calf, according to the police report. She still had a bullet lodged in her shin when she was evacuated to the University of Chicago Hospital, according to the report.

One witness heard a loud popping noise and felt something strike her, according to the police report.

She later found a bullet lodged in a hooded sweatshirt that had been tied around her waist, according to the report.

According to the police report, one Chicago police commander on scene told the Sox that Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott wanted the Sox to stop the game for public safety reasons. This did not come to pass.

Police said they responded and coordinated with White Sox security but did not believe the situation presented an “active threat.”

Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert declined to comment specifically on the request to stop the game. He said that in later innings, CPD and White Sox security staff worked together and decided to allow the game to continue as there was no active threat.

The postgame concert was canceled not out of safety concerns, Reifert said, but in order to allow CPD to begin an investigation inside the stadium.

“That determination was made because CPD basically needed the lights on in the stadium and to have spectators move so they could start their inspection of the area,” Reifert said. “So that decision was made late in the game.”

Reifert declined to discuss any upcoming changes to White Sox security procedures following the incident.

According to ABC7, Mayor Brandon Johnson addressed the shooting Saturday morning by reiterating that the investigation and tonight’s game are still underway.

”The game is still scheduled for this evening,” Johnson added. “The local police department is doing everything that they can within their power to make sure that we keep people safe.”

Reifart confirmed Saturday’s third game between the White Sox and the Oakland Athletics at 6:10 pm will continue as scheduled.

“We remain confident in our security,” Reifert said. “One of our primary objectives is to ensure the safety of our fans.”

In a statement, Ald. Nicole Lee, 11th, said she was “shocked and sickened” by the shooting and said she was engaged in talks with police and White Sox officials to ensure the public’s safety. “I am in ongoing communication with both the Chicago Police Department and the White Sox organization, and it is my promise to our community and our city that we will get to the bottom of this,” Lee said.

“This information is still preliminary as Area One Detectives are investigating,” the statement read. “We are asking anyone with information about this incident to please contact Area One Detective Division at 312-747-8380 or submit an anonymous tip through CPDTIP.com.”

A spokesperson for Major League Baseball told the Chicago Tribune they are currently “in touch” with the White Sox and the Chicago Police Department as an investigation into the incident continues.

The Chicago Police Department declined to comment further Saturday morning. Department representatives specifically declined to comment on whether the shots came from inside or outside the stadium.

The game was not interrupted despite the incident taking place yards from the outfield and the White Sox bullpen. Stadium grounds crew members had already begun installing crowd control barriers on the field, meant to keep fans in place during the postgame concert, when the announcement came through that the concert was canceled.

Fans began to boo and jeer when the Sox lost badly in the second half of the game, and again when the concert was canceled.

As fans were ushered from the stadium after the ninth inning Friday night, plainclothes Chicago Police Department officers and detectives were on the 100 level of the stadium and on the surrounding streets.

A statement from the White Sox said it was unclear whether the bullets were fired from inside or outside the park. “While police continue to investigate, White Sox security confirms that this incident did not involve an altercation of any kind,” the team said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

A spectator, Greg Mika, said he was seated in the left centerfield stands about four rows behind a young woman who received medical treatment to her leg below the knee and watched her walk away while speaking with medics.

The incident had occurred by the game’s third inning, he said, but fans were not asked to leave. He said authorities did clear out several rows in front of and behind the area where the woman had been seated.

Mika, of the southwest suburbs, and his friends were unclear what happened to the woman as they left after the game. Despite speculation that she may have been injured from a bullet, Mika said his sense of safety at the ballpark was not shaken.

“No, not really,” he said, “because we’re not really sure what happened. We’re just hearing speculation.”

North Center resident Zach Koutsky, 39, went to the game with his seven year old son and four of their neighbors’ kids. The six of them sat in section 163, according to a receipt provided to the Tribune. Kousky said he was oblivious as to what happened two sections and assumed the concert was canceled because the performer got sick or there was a technical issue.

“By the time I got home, I put the kids to bed and looked at Twitter and saw one of the Sox accounts I follow say that there was a shooting at the park,” he said. “(There was) zero indication that any of that had happened.”

Koutsky, who purchased a 20 game season ticket package earlier this year, says he’s frustrated with the way the White Sox media team has handled the messaging since the shooting took place.

“What indication do I have that they are taking things seriously?” he said, describing the team’s statement as a “passive.”

The Sox lost to the Oakland A’s 12-4. A scheduled postgame concert was canceled, according to an announcement posted on the stadium’s video scoreboard. “Due to technical issues, tonight’s postgame concert has been canceled,” it said, as fans booed.

The concert was billed as the “I Love the 90s Tour” and was to feature Vanilla Ice, Rob Base and Tone Loc. Rapper Robert Matthew Van Winkle, also known by his stage name ‘Vanilla Ice,’ took to TikTok to respond to the shooting that derailed the post-game performance.

“Nobody died but some nutjob kind of ruined the night for everybody,” a shirtless Winkle said in the almost two minute long video. “Support the White Sox, get out there, and we’ll be back and we’ll do the ‘I Love the 90s Tour’ again right here.”

The incident capped off a difficult week for the White Sox. As the team considers a move to the suburbs or perhaps as far as Nashville, Crain’s Chicago Business reported Monday that team chairman Jerry Reisdorf is looking at selling the Sox.

The Sox also announced the dismissal of executive vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn on Tuesday.

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