At least seven people have been killed and 23 victims wounded this weekend in separate mass shootings across the nation.
The carnage began before dawn Saturday outside a nightclub in downtown Minneapolis, where two people were shot dead and eight were wounded after an argument between two men escalated to gunfire, according to reports.
Later the same night, shots rang out at a house party attended by at least 100 people in Fairfield Township, New Jersey, leaving two dead and a dozen others with gunshot wounds.
Then early Sunday morning, three people were gunned down and three others were wounded in yet another mass shooting outside a bar in Youngstown, Ohio.
2 dead, 8 wounded in Minneapolis
The first shooting scene in Minneapolis happened around 2 a.m. outside the Monarch nightclub in 300 block of North First Avenue.
There, authorities said, two men standing in a crowd exchanged words then pulled guns and opened fire on each other.
Nearby police rushed to the “exceptionally chaotic scene” and found several gunshot victims lying on the ground, according to KSTP, the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis.
Among the dead was one of the gunmen, whose name was not revealed. Also killed was Charlie Johnson, a recent graduate of the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering who was scheduled to attend his commencement ceremony the same day, KTSP reported.
The other suspected gunman, identified as 23-year-old Jowan Contrail Carroll, was arrested hours later on probable cause of murder, according to the Bloomington Police Department.
Among the wounded, three were men and five were women, KTSP reported. One person was reported in critical condition, but the other seven had non-life-threatening injuries.
Authorities do not believe the gunmen were patrons of the nightclub, and the shooting remains under investigation.
“Our community is shocked and saddened by the news of Charlie’s death. We grieve with his family and friends and pray for their comfort,” University of St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan said in a statement. “On a day he and his family should have been celebrating his graduation from our School of Engineering, we are devastated by this loss.”
2 dead at New Jersey house party
A Saturday night house party attended by many as 200 people in Bridgeton, New Jersey, about 50 miles west of Atlantic City, erupted in gunfire that left two dead and a dozen people wounded.
A 30-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were killed, but authorities have not released their names. The wounded were transported to local hospitals, where at least one gunshot victim was reported in critical condition.
No suspects have been named and no arrests had been made as of early Sunday.
Aerial news footage showed overturned tables, lawn chairs and debris strewn about the yard of the home.
At least one guest said he had to run for his life after gunshots rang out from nearby woods, which sent partygoers scrambling for cover.
The investigation is ongoing.
3 dead, 3 wounded outside Ohio bar
Three people were killed and three others were wounded in a shooting overnight Sunday outside the Torch Club Bar & Grille in Youngstown, Ohio, police said.
Gunfire was reported shortly after 2 a.m., according to Chief Carl Davis of the Youngstown police department
One person among the wounded was in critical condition.
None of the shootings occurred in the bar “but they stemmed from an incident which began there,” Davis said.
Officers rendered first aid to victims near the establishment and officers from nearby departments were called in to help due to the large crowds in what he called a “chaotic and tragic” event.
So far no suspects have been taken into custody, although authorities were speaking to several individuals. Police declined comment on how many weapons were used or other details.
Police were processing evidence from two shooting scenes near the bar as well as a traffic accident reported at about the same time. It wasn’t immediately clear what relation the accident had to the shooting.
WKBN-TV reported dozens of casings in front of the bar as well as in a parking lot two doors down, where a house was also struck by gunfire.
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said that, as a father of four, unnecessary violence involving young people “just continues to pull at my heart.”
“It is not easy for me to get the call in the middle of the night from the chief or one of his team to tell me about incidents like this, and it pains me,” he said.
Year of carnage
So far this year, a deadly wave of bloodshed across the country continues a staggering trend of mass shootings which have quickly rebounded to the forefront of American life.
The United States has seen 224 mass shootings since Jan. 1, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that defines them as any event involving the shooting of four or more people other than the assailant.
Two weeks ago, a gunman killed six people and himself at a birthday party in Colorado Springs. In two days during the same weekend, more than 260 shootings in 37 states across the United States killed 94 people and injured 236, according to GVA data.
Last weekend, nine young men were shot and wounded in a drive-by in Providence, Rhode Island, in the biggest mass shooting in recent history in the state capital.
In April, eight people were shot to death at a FedEx warehouse facility in Indianapolis, and a week before that six people, including two children, were killed in a mass shooting at a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
In March, a shooting spree at several metro Atlanta spas left eight innocent people dead, including six Asian women.
Days later, on March 22, another mass shooting at a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store killed 10 people, including a police officer.
On March 31, four people including a child were killed and two wounded in a shooting at an office complex in Orange, California.
The sudden resurgence in gun violence comes as more people are reemerging from pandemic lockdowns, whereas violence in 2020 mostly migrated from public spaces into homes, according to Hart Brown, senior vice president of R3 Continuum, a crisis management firm that helps counsel clients in the aftermaths of about 800 shootings a year.
“The environment that was created by the pandemic, with the social distancing, the lockdown, and so forth and the compounding stressors is really what’s driving much of the violence that we’re seeing right now,” he told Reuters.
Information provided by The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.