Chicago, IL — Two men were shot, one fatally, at the funeral of a reputed Chicago gang member.
Panic and chaos ensued as hundreds of mourners scattered from the church.
Police said one man was killed and another injured during the shooting at St. Columbianus Church. Police identified both victims as members of the Gangster Disciples and convicted felons.
The Gangster Disciples make up more than a quarter of Chicago’s 470 homicide victims. Nearly 60 percent of this years’s homicide victims were gang members.
Police were still investigating who was behind the church shooting, but investigators said the neighborhood had been plagued by conflict between the Gangster Disciples and the Black Disciples.
Prior to the shooting, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy had been discussing the department’s crime-fighting strategies in lowering the city’s violence rate earlier this year, when the number of homicides soared.
Rev. Corey Brooks, who officiated the service for 32-year-James Holman — no relation to the author of this article — said a church would have been off-limits to gang members at one time.
“Now we are living at a day and time where these younger criminals have no regard for life or for street rules,” he said.
Holman, a Gangster Disciple, was shot last week at an apartment building in the Washington Park neighborhood of Chicago.
A spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office identified one of the men as 21-year-old Sherman Miller. He was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.
The other victim, a 26-year-old who has yet to be identified, was shot in the back and listed in “extremely critical condition.”
Two guns were recovered, one down the block from the church, and another on one of the victims.
Brooks had just finished the eulogy and Holman’s family and friends had just left the church when the gunmen began shooting.
“That’s when all the gunfire broke out and it was just crazy,” Brooks said. “People were hollering and screaming and kids running everywhere.”
Charles Childs, a co-owner of the A.A. Rayner and Sons Funeral Home across from the church said he saw the gunman firing his weapon as he came down the church’s front steps.
“No place is safe,” he said. “It’s just despicable.”