CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Three people, including two teens, were stabbed and more than a dozen others injured in a subsequent stampede at Navy Pier following the Fourth of July fireworks display.
A fight broke out between a group of males about 10:10 p.m. after gang signs were flashed, Chicago police said. The trio was stabbed during the fight.
A 15-year-old boy was stabbed in the armpit and was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, police said. Another boy, 14, was stabbed in the arm, rib and taken to the same hospital. Both of their conditions were stabilized.
Police said a 30-year-old man who wasn’t involved in the fight was stabbed in the face and arm but couldn’t remember any details of the incident. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where his condition was stabilized.
An unknown person threw what is believed to be firecrackers at the venue, police said.
Someone in the crowd then yelled “gun” and a stampede followed, Chicago police Sgt. Rocco Alioto said at a new conference. Fourteen people were trampled and taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening.
There was also initially a report of a person shot, Alioto said. That person turned out to be a man who punctured his leg when he ran into an overturned table in the stampede. Alioto said no shots were fired.
The stabbing happened just outside the pier’s “secure zone,” where Navy Pier security conducted bag checks for everyone who went onto the pier, Alioto said. He said the security measures were” effective.”
Thousands of people, estimated to be more than 60,000, streamed through downtown and away from the pier amid a large police response. The streets around the pier were littered with sandals, hats, bags and personal belongings.
A 45-year-old woman was with family at the pier when she heard what sounded like a gunshot and people started running, she said. She lost her family amid the stampede, but tearfully reunited with some of her cousins about 45 minutes later outside the gate at the south end of the pier. From there, they went to look for the rest of the family.
“Just chaos. Chaos. That’s all it was,” the woman said. “We got separated from each other because everyone went in different directions when it started. But thank god, he got us all back together. That’s all that matters.”
Another woman was watching the fireworks with her young daughter, a friend and the friend’s young son when people started running over each other, she said. The woman said several bags and strollers were left behind on the pier, including her own belongings and car keys. She lost all her friend and her friend’s son amid the frenzy, and still had not found them an hour later.