A 15-year-old was killed and three others were hospitalized, including a police officer, after a fight led to gunfire at a Juneteenth festival in Washington D.C. Authorities believe the teenager was killed in a resulting stampede.
Hundreds of people gathered in Washington D.C. on Sunday night for the “Moechella” Juneteenth festival. The outdoor event featured several free concerts and was heavily promoted on social media.
People began gathering around 6 p.m. as music played from a truck, according to Newsweek.
“And at some point during the course of this gathering, there was some type of incident or fight that happened between some of the individuals who were in attendance,” Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said. “That incident was broken up.”
Police then decided to break up the event after determining it was unsafe. Event organizers did not obtain a permit, though police assisted with blocking off the area and allowing it to go on.
Several people suffered minor injuries in a resulting stampede, which is believed to have caused the death of the 15-year-old.
Police did recover a handgun from a victim and are investigating the cause of the incident, though they do not believe gunfire was the cause of death. D.C. Metro Police did not fire any rounds during the incident and no exchange of gunfire was recorded.
Mobile phone show attendees fleeing in multiple directions after gunfire erupted near 14th and U Streets, D.C. Metro Police said.
The three adults who suffered significant injuries, including the police officer, are recovering in area hospitals.
Authorities will be speaking to the event’s organizers and considering what legal action could be taken. The Washington D.C. Juneteenth event lacked a permit, Contee said.
“We will certainly want to make sure that people are held accountable when they hold unpermitted events in our city,” the chief stated. “This is one of the reasons why we don’t want unpermitted events taking place in our city. Unfortunately, things like this can happen when you have the wrong mix of people or people who introduce firearms into a situation.”
Reporting from National File.