A hit-and-run car crash that killed three men and injured another in front of a Black-owned gay bar early Sunday morning “appears to be intentional,” the Chicago Police Department said in a press conference Monday. Officials said the incident is not currently being investigated as a hate crime.
Police said the crash occurred after an argument inside the Jeffrey Pub turned into a physical altercation on the street. At one point, one of the parties involved got into his car and slammed it against the group standing outside the pub. Officials said they recovered the vehicle that rammed into four men outside the bar, but they are still searching for the driver.
Brendan Deenihan, the department’s chief of detectives, is asking the public to come forward with information.
“You can’t charge a car with a crime, obviously,” Deenihan said. “We need to know who the driver was, and we know that people out there know that.”
The four male victims were taken to local hospitals, with three succumbing to their injuries, according to the police.
The deceased victims were identified as Donald Huey, 25, Jaylen Ausley, 23, and Devonta Vivetter, 27, according to Brittany Hill, a spokesperson for the Cook County Bureau of Administration. The surviving victim has not been named publicly and is still hospitalized, according to NBC Chicago.
Dashcam footage of the incident obtained by NBC Chicago shows several people on the street when a physical altercation broke out. The video also shows the moments just before the car is about to hit the men but does not show the actual hit-and-run incident.
A woman who witnessed the crash said she saw a car speeding down the street before “a lot of chaos” ensued.
“I was standing outside the bar talking to one of the victims,” she said. “I took like three steps, and a car came and hit him, and he flew over the car.”
The Jeffrey Pub shared a message on Facebook about the sad episode, offering condolences to the victims’ families and encouraging anyone with information to come forward.
“Our hearts heavy this morning that such tragic event has occurred,” the post stated. “And to those that lost a loved one or friend we stand with you.”