Chester police look for teen gunmen

March 24, 2008 3:51:31 PM PDT
It was supposed to be a night of celebration for young people in Chester. But soon after kids celebrated one high school's basketball championship gunshots rang out, and five youths, the youngest just 13, lay wounded in the city's streets. Investigators want to know why this happened.

At Chester police headquarters investigators are still looking for some gun toting teenagers who spilled blood at an Easter day dance.

Alice Anderson asked "Where do they get the guns from?" That's a question Chester Police will have to answer after what happened, the scene described as a Wild West shootout. Only this one was at 8th and Kerlin Street and it involved children.

Around 11:30 Sunday night police say up to 300 people, mostly teenagers, showed up for a dance at a small, boarded up former doctor's office that investigators say someone has been illegally renting out for parties. This one said to be for Chester High School students celebrating the basketball team's recent championship win.

"It's a scary thought to know that children that age level have guns," said Portia West.

West was shocked to hear about the shootings because she almost allowed her daughter to attend. When cops arrived they found a 13-year-old girl had been shot in the buttocks, two other 20-year-olds showed up at the hospital moments later with non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

Then, less than an hour later, two other 14-year-old boys who attended the same dance also suffered from gunshot wounds on Frank Young Avenue.

"It's a scary thought to know that I almost let her go to the party and it could have been her. It could have been my daughter," says West.

Chester's Mayor Wendell Butler said, "We're going to investigate this around the clock. It just won't be tolerated to have any young people or anybody to become a victim of violence in my community."

With Chester High School closed this week for spring break, police know exactly what they're going to do.

"We're going to enforce the 9:30 curfew. Curfew for the weekend is 11:00. That's Friday and Saturday night. But this was well beyond both," said Major Darren Alston of the Chester Police Department.

Again, Chester police are still looking for the shooters but of course they need information from the kids and typically that is hard to come by.