UniverSoul Circus Chicago currently taking place in Washington Park
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Red Chicago police tape littered the ground Wednesday after at least nine people were shot, two of them fatally, in Washington Park Tuesday evening, Chicago police said.
Chicago police said their preliminary investigations shows that two groups of people were involved in a "personal altercation" around 7:45 p.m. in the 500-block of East 51st Street in the park.
WATCH: Chicago police update on Washington Park shooting
Multiple shots were fired by both groups. Police initially said a total of seven people were shot, and one of them died, but later said that two more victims self-transported to University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition, CPD said.
A 19-year-old man shot multiple times in the body and taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition also died.
Police said a 43-year-old man was shot in the back of the head and taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office identified the two victims as Khalil Denny and Lionel Coward.
The scene of the crime became a backdrop for political drama, with Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey using it to speak out against violence. His comments were challenged by community activists who said Bailey was seizing on a moment of grief to promote a political agenda.
"Violence is a public health crisis," said Bamani Obadele of Acclivus, Inc. "Unfortunately, over the years it's b ecome like a cancer."
Acculvis, Inc., a non-profit organization, organized baseball games in the park over the past few weeks in hopes of uniting the community. There was a game last night. They say what the community needs most is investment.
"These are communities where you have the least investment of resources," said Rev. Janette Wilson of Rainbow PUSH. "They're food deserts. They're deserts of employment. They're deserts of resources, their schools are under-resourced, underfunded."
A 30-year-old man was shot in the left shin, a 39-year-old man was shot in the right ankle, a 27-year-old woman was shot in the upper left thigh, and a 22-year-old man was shot twice in the left elbow, police said. All four of them were taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition.
A 19-year-old man was shot in the upper right shoulder and self-transported to Insight Hospital in good condition, police said.
A 33-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the upper right arm, and a 46-year-old man suffered a graze wound to the right calf.
Police believe all of the victims were in the two groups involved in the altercation.
No one is currently in custody. Police are asking anyone with information to contact Area 1 detectives or use their tip line at 833-408-0069. A $15,000 reward is available for information leading to arrests.
Chicago Police Deputy Chief Fred Melean said it was "another tragic incident."
Washington Park is hosting UniverSoul Circus, but there was not a performance Tuesday night.
There is a show, according to the official website, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.
"The circus was not in operation today. And this had nothing to do with the circus. If the circus was operating there would have been more security there," Melean said.
Asked about safety, another couple said Washington Park is a safe place, and they believe what happened was an isolated, targeted incident.