The victim's sister identified her as Ciera Davis. She was the mother of a 6-year-old son.
No one was in custody Monday evening in connection with the shooting. Police would not say whether they know who they are looking for, but do not believe there is an immediate public danger.
At about 4:30 a.m., officers responded to the 1600-block of 11th Street after reports of a shooting.
When they arrived they found an SUV in the middle of the road, but no one was inside. A friend had driven Davis to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The SUV, which had its windows shot out, was registered to Davis.
She was shot several times, but detectives are still trying to piece together the circumstances of the shooting. Investigators spent more than 12 hours processing the scene.
"Investigators are working at a very rapid, frantic pace trying to get answers to a lot of those questions also. What we do know is that there was a social gathering and there was an altercation and from there we're trying to get to the bottom of what did happen," said Waukegan Police Cmdr. Joe Florip.
Davis' relatives still don't know how to tell her son about her death.
"He's six. How do you explain that to him? Everybody is so emotional. And he sees all our family together, and he wonders why his mom hasn't shown up at the door yet," said Zonnett Curtis, victim's sister.
Curtis said she spoke with her sister right before the shooting, pleading with her to come home after learning of a fight at the party.
"Her last two words were 'Okay. Okay.' She did what I asked her to do, and she was coming home," she said.
Family members describe Davis as their spark.
"My nephew, give us answers for him," Curtis said.
Davis' co-workers said she worked at the Illinois Department of Human Services where she helped people with disabilities. She was a pre-med student at College of Lake County and wanted to become a nurse.
"She worked overtime. She helped her family a lot. She talked a lot about her family. She talked about her dreams to become a doctor to help others," said co-worker Valerie King.
"I feel bad for the young lady that passed and her baby. That baby ain't got no mama," said Tinababy Hawkins, who was visiting nearby.
Davis' family has started a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.