Two people were shot at a funeral for an alleged Chicago gang member earlier today, reports state. The shooting is believed to be in retaliation for the death of 32-year-old James Holman and only continues the violence that has riddled Chicago in recent years.
Two men were shot as they fled St. Columbanus Church in Chicago, where they had gathered to pay their respects to Holman, according to reports. One victim, 21-year-old Sherman Miller, died, and the second was listed in critical condition. Both have criminal records and are known gang members.
Eyewitnesses described the scene as chaotic, with lots of tears and fear running throughout those attending the funeral. What should have been a time of reflection and mourning quickly escalated to terror and more mourning after the shootings.
"Can you imagine 1,200 people in a church and everybody's running?" Deborah Echols Moore asked CBS. "It was awful. We had babies crying."
Rev. Corey Brooks delivered the eulogy at the funeral and watched in horror as the attacks occurred. After Holman was killed in an apparent gang-related shooting, Brooks was asked to perform the service, and he chose to speak on the topic of peace.
"I preached that we have a great need for God and peace in our neighborhoods," he told CBS. Chicago has been plagued by gang-related violence in recent years. In June, eight people were killed and 43 left wounded in the span of one weekend.
City officials have been working to curtail the violence but have found it increasingly difficult, with not enough police to cover the entire city and an overall increase in violence.
"None of it is OK," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy told NBCChicago.com that weekend. "And I don't want it to seem like we're managing it, but the realistic expectations have to be over the long term. Crime reduction is a process. We implement the strategies and the question is are we doing better than we were last year. And the answer is yes," he added.
"It was crazy," Brooks noted. "It was the worst thing you could imagine. People were running, screaming, trying to get safe. When people were going out the door, they saw the bodies."
A sign outside the church now reads: "Pray for Peace."