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Man killed, 8 others wounded in shooting at Calumet City party

Dewayne Purnell, 19, is pictured on May 22, the day he graduated from Thornton Fractional North High School. He was fatally shot at a house party early Sunday in Calumet City. | Provided photo

(CALUMET CITY) A 19-year-old man who was less than two weeks away from joining the military was killed early Sunday at a house party in Calumet City in a shooting that injured eight other people.

About 1:50 a.m., between 100 and 150 people were at the party in the basement of a home in the 600 block of Escanaba Avenue when a fight broke out and at least one person opened fire, Calumet City Police Chief Ed Gilmore said.

Dewayne Purnell, who lived in the 14000 block of Marquette Avenue in Burnham, was taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond, Indiana, where he was pronounced dead at 2:37 a.m., according to the Lake County Coroner’s office.

A 15-year-old girl was among eight other people wounded in the shooting, police said. None of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening.

“He was not a gangster. He was leaving for the Army in nine days,” Donald Purnell, 52, said of his son Dewayne Purnell. “I was so proud of him.”

A graduate of Thornton Fractional North High School, Dewayne Purnell was scheduled to report to Fort Jackson in South Carolina on Dec. 30, according to Donald Purnell.

“He was ready to go to the United States Army and I let him go have a little fun — and now he’s dead,” Donald Purnell said. “He just ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

No one was in custody in connection with the shooting as of Monday afternoon, Gilmore said. The South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force is leading the investigation.

Contributing: Ashlee Rezin