Ten people were injured and three law enforcement officials were hurt Monday night after gunfire erupted in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, according to police.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg called the Memorial Day rampage a mass shooting, saying “we’re counting our blessings that no one in this incident was killed.”
Shots were fired in the area of 41 South Street around 11:40 pm Monday, the site of a vacant lot where a large party was taking place with more than 100 people believed to be in attendance, Charleston Police Chief Luther T. Reynolds said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Four of the 10 people injured were in critical condition in hospitals. It’s not clear how many injuries were gunshot wounds.
A 17-year-old was among the injured, the rest were adults, Reynolds said.
Three law enforcement officers were also hurt in the shooting.
An officer with the Charleston Police Department responded to the scene following a noise complaint and was shot at while in a police cruiser, officials said. The officer was not hit but suffered injury from shrapnel, and was hospitalized and released, Reynolds said.
Police said the shooting scene spanned several blocks and gunfire hit several cars.
Two Charleston County Sheriff’s Office deputies were assaulted while trying to control the crowd, resulting in minor injuries, the sheriff’s office said.
“One person swung at a deputy, striking the deputy in the face. The deputy was later treated for facial injuries. Another deputy was knocked to the ground by a member of the crowd. The deputy suffered cuts to the head and arm,” Andrew Knapp, a spokesperson for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, told NBC affiliate WCBD of Charleston.
Reynolds said there were more than 100 evidence markers at the shooting scene, and more than half are shell casings.
“There’s a lot of weapons that were fired. Handguns, long guns, 223 rounds. If anybody doesn’t know what a 223 round will do, it’ll blow your leg right off, it’ll blow your head right off your shoulders. Those are the types of rounds that were fired last night,” Reynolds said.
He said there were “a couple different groups shooting at each other generally.”
“As we stand here right now, we’re lucky we don’t have a dead cop or dead citizen or dead community members,” Reynolds said.
The investigation is ongoing and officers are still working the scene.
Two people were arrested stemming from the assaults on the deputies, police said.
Those suspects were identified as Ayesha McGee and Tahira McGee, NBC affiliate of WCBD of Charleston reported, citing reports from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
Ayesha McGee was charged with third-degree assault and battery and Tahira McGee with second-degree assault and battery and resisting arrest.
Officials said more arrests are expected.
Officials said South Street from Nassau Street to Drake Street and America Street from Reid Street to Mary Street in the area will remain closed to process the shooting scene.
The mayor harshly condemned gun violence in the city and across the nation, a nod to the Buffalo, New York, supermarket shooting and the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting.
“I don’t know about you but I’m mad about it. I’m fed up,” Tecklenburg said. “Enough is enough.”
Tecklenburg announced an 8-point plan to address gun violence that includes graduated penalties for gun crimes, promoting safer firearm use, and shutting down events without proper permits.
The shooting occurred during a violent Memorial Day weekend. A preliminary count found that gun violence left at least 156 people dead and 412 injured from 5 pm Friday to 5 am Tuesday, the Gun Violence Archive said.