Police in Antioch, Calif., are searching today for as many as four young gunmen who opened fire at a “sweet sixteen” party Saturday, leaving five teens and a young woman hospitalized.
Just after 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police began receiving 9-1-1 reports of dozens of teens fleeing a home on an Antioch cul-de-sac after several gunshots were fired. When police arrived, they found the six gunshot victims at the scene, including one 13-year-old boy. The other victims were two 16-year-old boys and two 18-year-old men. A 21-year-old woman was also shot in the stomach and airlifted to a hospital.
Police believe an argument broke out between two groups of party goers in the garage of the home where the birthday party was being held, which belongs to the birthday girl’s parents, according to police.
The victims’ injuries included graze wounds, a possible fractured leg and the abdomen wound. All six victims were transported to local hospitals, where they remain in stable condition, police said
No arrests have been made in the shooting; police said in a statement today that they are still investigating the incident and following up on leads.
The shooting was the second birthday party to end in gunfire in the small California community in six months. In August, a birthday party at a home across town ended with the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy following an argument with the suspected shooter. A 17-year-old girl was also injured.
Brittney Gougeon, the founder of Take Back Antioch, a local anti-violence group, said the city has seen an uptick in crime since the housing crisis hit California. In 2010, there were 15 murders in the city of 100,000. One killing, near Gougeon’s home, inspired her to start Take Back Antioch.
On Saturday night, Gougeon heard gunshots and immediately spread word of the shooting on her Facebook group, conveying information she heard on her police scanner to her neighbors.
” I heard 10 shots fired pretty rapidly, and I guess there was a large party where 70 to 80 people showed up at an apparent “sweet sixteen” party. The police were trying to figure out what’s going on, and all these kids were just running around.”
“Some sort of fight broke out in the garage,” Gougeon said, adding that some of the people at the party were uninvited guests and “just showed up, got in argument, showed their fire arms and began shooting.”
Gougeon said the city has also suffered from an increase in vandalism and burglaries, including an arson at an elementary school in which vandals burnt a playground to the ground.