What we know — and don’t — about the White Sox game shooting

Theories and rumors and unconfirmed reports have circulated on social media, but police and the Sox have released virtually nothing about the shooting that wounded two women Friday night.

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Chicago police SWAT officers walk towards their vehicle after a shooting took place at the stadium during the Chicago White Sox games against the Oakland Athletic’s, Friday, Aug. 25, 2023. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

It has been nearly a week since two women were shot during a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field, but little information has been released by Chicago police or the White Sox organization.

Theories and rumors and unconfirmed reports have circulated on social media, but officials have released virtually nothing about the shooting, who might have done it and why.

The White Sox and Major League Baseball have been vague about what extra measures they will take, if any, because of the shooting.

Here is what we know about the shooting and the investigation and questions that remain.

What we know

What happened:

According to a police report obtained by the Sun-Times, two women were struck by bullets about 7:30 p.m. Friday while sitting near section 161 of Guaranteed Rate Field during the Sox game against the Oakland Athletics.

One woman, 42, suffered two gunshot wounds to the right leg — one of the bullets traveled through her thigh, and the other struck her calf and became lodged in her shin. She was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Another woman, 26, was grazed by a bullet in her lower abdomen and refused medical treatment.

A third woman sitting in the section found a bullet in the hood of her sweatshirt which was wrapped around her waist, according to the police report.

Did anyone hear shots?

The brother of the younger woman who was grazed by a bullet told the Sun-Times they heard a loud pop. He described the noise as similar to the sound an empty plastic water bottle makes when you squeeze it.

He didn’t think anything of the noise until his sister said she felt like she got “hit with a ball” in her abdomen.

The older, most seriously wounded woman told officers she “heard a loud popping noise,” then stood up and “observed blood coming out of her right leg,” according to the report.

Scott Reifert, the Sox’ vice president of communications, said over the weekend that there was “no gunshot sound within the ballpark.”

“If that happened, there would have been far different reactions from the crowd, from our security, from the CPD,” Reifert said.

Did the crowd panic?

A one-minute video clip released by the team shows a person — apparently one of the wounded — standing near the aisle of Section 161 and looking toward the ground, then others in the group doing the same.

Fans in front of the person begin to wave down security, while most of the others show no reaction. Two children can be seen hopping up the steps nearby moments before the two victims apparently were hit.

A University of Chicago Medical Center doctor who was at the game and who tended to both wounded women said she heard no gunfire and noticed no commotion coming from the crowd.

Dr. Jeanne Farnan said a man ran up the stairs, waving his hands over his head and calling for security.

Farnan said the older woman’s companion was applying pressure to the wound and “there was a lot of napkins and quite a bit of blood on the ground.”

Did the Sox pause the game?

No, the game continued for 90 more minutes after the shooting.

According to the police report, Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott asked the Sox organization to stop the game “for public safety reasons,” but it was not stopped.

Reifert, the Sox spokesman, said “once the police got here and talked to us, they understood it was not an active threat.”

Neither police nor the Sox have said how they reached that determination when questions remain about where the shots came from.

Reifert said the decision to allow the game to continue fell completely to the police department, though he acknowledged that police consulted with the team’s security personnel. “It was determined that there was no immediate threat, and so the game proceeded,” he said.

A postgame concert by rappers Vanilla Ice and Tone Loc was canceled so police could investigate the area, Reifert said. Those in the stadium were told it was “due to technical issues.”

Police have given no details about what, if anything, officers recovered from the scene.

Where were the shots fired from?

Sox officials initially issued a statement saying it was “unclear to investigators whether the shots were fired from outside or inside the ballpark.”

On Monday, interim Police Supt. Fred Waller told reporters investigators had “almost completely dispelled” a theory that bullets were fired from outside the stadium.

“We’re dispelling a lot of things,” Wallers said. “It’s coming from outside is something that we’ve almost completely dispelled. But we’re still looking at every avenue it’s still under investigation.”

Waller did not address how someone apparently brought a gun into the stadium, where bags are searched and fans walk through metal detectors.

Then on Wednesday, a police spokesperson said “no theories have been ruled out,” and the theory of gunfire coming from outside the stadium is now apparently back in play.

Was the shooting intentional?

The police report does not indicate whether officers suspected the shooting was accidental.

Law enforcement sources have said they are investigating whether the older victim snuck a gun into the stadium and then handed it off to another person after it accidentally went off. The police report noted she has a valid firearm owners identification card.

But a lawyer for the woman — a resident of far southwest suburban Montgomery and a Sox season-ticket holder — issued a statement late Tuesday saying she “denies bringing a firearm into the stadium” or “having anything to do with” the shooting.

“We have reviewed photographic evidence and X-rays of our client’s injuries with firearms and medical experts who confirm the gunshot wound our client sustained was not self-inflicted and was not the result of her accidentally discharging a firearm,” lawyer John Malm said.

What’s the latest in the investigation?

As rumors and unconfirmed reports flooded social media, the police department released a terse statement early in the week saying “this information was not released or confirmed by the Chicago Police Department. This investigation is still active and ongoing. Updates will be provided as they become available.”

On Wednesday, the department gave no indication it was close to resolving the case.

What we do not know

How could someone have gotten a gun into Guaranteed Rate Field?

Neither Chicago police nor Sox officials have provided any explanation as to how someone could have entered the stadium with a gun.

All fans are required to pass through upright metal detectors upon entering the stadium, and all carry-in items are searched, according to the team’s code of conduct.

It is illegal for anyone to enter or attempt to enter the ballpark with a firearm, regardless of permit.

Scott Reifert, the Sox vice president of communications, said the team has reviewed video and has found no evidence that a weapon was brought into the ballpark. The older woman and others with her didn’t trigger “alerts on the security systems” or raise suspicions, he said.

Will White Sox change security procedures?

Reifert told the Sun-Times the organization reviews its procedures after every incident but that they will not know what, if any, changes are needed until the police conclude their investigation.

“We’re not even sure what we’re adjusting for until we have a clearer picture,” he said. “If the police are finding something different, or the evidence is leading them in a different direction here, ultimately it would be good to get some resolution.”

The next Sox home game is Friday.

How many shots were fired?

At least two shots were fired, but the police report does not explain how a bullet found its way into the hoodie of a third fan.

It was not known if the bullet that passed through the older woman’s thigh was the same one that grazed the younger woman’s abdomen or was the one found in the hoodie.

The woman with the hoodie showed a picture of the bullet on Facebook, and the doctor who tended to the wounded said she passed it along to police.

The department has not said what, if anything, they gleaned from the bullet.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has joined the investigation, according to a spokesperson, who said the ATF is assisting the police department by providing “state-of-the-art” technology to analyze ballistic evidence recovered at the stadium.

Did police collect any shell casings from the stadium?

This is not indicated in the police report, and the department has said nothing about it.

Were the victim’s clothes tested for gun residue?

This is not indicated in the police report, and the department has said nothing about it.

What type of gun was used?

This is not indicated in the police report, and the department has said nothing about it.

Do police have a suspect?

Police have not publicly released any information about a possible suspect or any pending charges.

None of the victims or witnesses mentioned in the police report could provide officers with a description of the shooter. The Sun-Times reached out to them, but most did not return calls or declined to be interviewed.

When will police and Sox tell fans what they know?

Neither the police department nor the White Sox have given any indication when they might release more information to the public.

Contributing: Allison Novelo, Emmanuel Camarillo and Rosemary Sobol

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