SPRINGFIELD — A large private party at the Illinois State Fairgrounds turned violent early Sunday morning, with police reporting more than 20 shots fired and four people stabbed.
Capt. Jerry Felts of the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office said it’s fortunate nobody was shot or more seriously injured in the hail of gunfire.
Deputies discovered dozens of spent shell casings, as well as bullet-hole damage to the Illinois Building, a bullet hole through a window in the Expo Building and several vehicles shot.
The four people who were stabbed all suffered non-life-threatening injuries and have been released from the hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Felts said.
The violence stemmed from a fight that erupted during a party at the Illinois Building, attended by at least several hundred people, Felts said.
A flier that circulated on social media called it “Aries Bash,” possibly in reference to the Zodiac sign or a birthday party. The flier did not include a phone number.
Felts said detectives are still trying to piece together what triggered the fight.
No arrests have been made, and anyone with information is encouraged to called the sheriff’s office at 753-6840 or Crime Stoppers at 788-8427.
When deputies were dispatched to the fairgrounds at 1:09 a.m. for a report of an active shooter, Felts said, a large crowd of people was running in different directions and cars were lined up at the gate attempting to leave.
A video from one partygoer posted on Facebook showed tensions boiling up between a large crowd outside the Illinois Building, private security that had been hired for the party and those inside.
In the video, security guards could be heard yelling repeatedly at the crowd to stay back. The video did not show any shots fired or people being stabbed.
According to Felts, whoever rented out the building hired the private security but not any off-duty police officers, which is fairly common for large parties at the fairgrounds, he said.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which oversees the fairgrounds, could not be reached for comment about who rented out the facility Saturday night or what type of security was hired.