THIS WILL NOT APPEAR ON RACHAEL MADDOW. There is no:
- Tea Party
- Fox News
- or Sarah Palin
As many as three gunmen opened fire Tuesday outside a funeral home during services for a murder victim, killing two people and critically wounding another before fleeing the scene of the apparent gang-related shootings, police said.
Witnesses told authorities that a fourth man was apparently shot in the leg during the shootings about noon Tuesday outside Reliable Funeral Home Chapel, Police Capt. Mike Sack said. However, that person still had not sought hospital treatment hours later and police hadn't been able to find him, Sack said.
Two of the victims were shot multiple times and died later at a hospital, while a third victim was listed as being in critical condition, Sack said.
The gunmen remained at large, and it was not immediately clear if any of the wounded exchanged fire with the assailants, Sack said.
A handgun was recovered from the scene, along with as many as two dozen — possibly more — shell casings on the funeral home's driveway.
Sack said the gunfire appeared to be related to the funeral that was taking place there for David Davis, 27, from nearby University City, who was gunned down Nov. 19 near an alley behind a St. Louis home. Davis died at the scene after being wounded multiple times in the head and upper body, police said.
Investigators have made no arrests, and no charges have been filed Davis' death, though police have leads in that case, Sack said.
The funeral home's owner, 82-year-old Nelson Thomas, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "the only thing I heard was boom, boom, boom, and that's all,'' prompting him to dive underneath a desk in his office as family members scurried outside, in many cases trying to tend to the wounded.
"I didn't look out to see what's going on,'' Thomas said.
A person who answered the funeral home's telephone later Tuesday declined to comment.
Sack said police who responded within moments of the first reports of Tuesday's shootings found the scene "very chaotic,'' with people fleeing the funeral home for the wind-numbing weather outside.
The shooting — in a desolate stretch of midtown St. Louis, across the street from two boarded-up, two-story brick homes — appeared to be the escalation of increasingly violent feuding between two factions, police said.
"What we do know is we have an ongoing feud between gangs in north St. Louis, and this is another product of that feud that we're trying to get a handle on,'' Police Chief Dan Isom said.
"It looks like these people have a prior history with one another,'' Sack said later to reporters, using the availability of television cameras and other assembled media to implore for a ceasefire and sensibility. "We encourage people not to engage in any acts of violence and not to take any matters into their own hands.''