Dallas, TX - Police said at least 11 people were shot and one person was killed in a Saturday night shooting during a trail ride and concert in southern Dallas. Dallas police officers said they responded to a shooting call at 5050 Cleveland Road in southern Dallas at approximately 12:13 a.m. on Sunday.
Upon arriving at the scene, police said they found a 26-year-old man identified as Kealon Dejuane Gilmore lying near a stage with a gunshot wound to his head. Police said Gilmore was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police described Gilmore's death as a homicide.
Police also said that an additional 11 victims of the shooting -- including three juveniles -- were transported to an area hospital by either ambulance or private vehicle.
Victims, including three juveniles, were transported to an area hospital from the venue at 5050 Cleveland Road, police said. One remains in critical condition.
According to police, one of those victims was in critical condition as of late Sunday morning, while the remaining victims were in stable condition.
Witnesses WFAA spoke with said as many as 2,000 people were in attendance at the open-air event, which was billed as the Second Annual Epic Easter Bike Out & Field Party.
"Everybody was running," said Lulu Smith, who attended the event with her daughter. "It was so jam-packed right here, you couldn't get in or out. When I got to my car, somebody was shooting. I rolled down my window and I heard [shots]."
Smith told WFAA that this event was not your typical concert setting. It was a trail ride event in a remote area, where attendants drove their ATVs, sat in the bed of trucks and paraded through the property before finishing up for a concert at the main stage.
According to other witnesses, the situation arose from a fight that broke out on the scene. Witnesses WFAA spoke with also believed that there were multiple shooters.
"Once they seen they can't break up the fight, they shot in the air to stop it," said a woman who only wanted to be identified as Brittney, and who happened to be in the fray when the shooting occurred. "It escalated, and they started shooting people."
Police confirmed that their preliminary investigation determined one unknown individual at the event fired a gun into the air, followed by another unknown individual firing a gun in the direction of the crowds.
Reached for comment, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson provided WFAA the following statement on the shooting: "Last night’s violence was horrific and unacceptable. I am praying for the victims, and I look forward to our police department bringing those responsible to justice. Public safety remains our top priority, and I will be conferring with Police Chief Eddie Garcia to see what more can be done to stop this kind of violence in our city."
The event was to be headlined by Memphis rapper Big Boogie. According to a post on the performer's Instagram page, the shooting occurred before he arrived at the venue.
A flyer for the event promoted it as happening at 5050 Cleveland Road, with gates opening at noon, horses and ATVS welcome, and kids aged 10 and under being admitted for free.
Multiple flyers for the event also promoted that Dallas police would on site, working alongside 60 security personnel -- "necessary steps and precautions to make the event a safe and fun space for all in attendance," read on flyer, which also stated that this decision was made "due to the rise of senseless violence." Flyers additionally noted that guests would be subjected to metal detectors upon arrival, that "drama of anykind [sic] will not be tolerated" and that promoters were "not responsible for accidents or theft."
Sources with the Dallas Police Department told WFAA the department is looking into claims about whether any of its officers were indeed working security at the event -- something the department is unable to confirm at this time. Officers working off-duty events need permission to do so, any officers working off-duty without approval from the department would be in violation of general orders.
The organizer of the event released a statement Sunday afternoon, saying that the event had Dallas police officers and added security.
“On behalf of the Epic Easter Officials, we are saddened by the unfortunate events that occurred yesterday. Our goal was to organize a positive event for and by our people. We took the necessary steps to offer safety by having Dallas Police officers and security personnel on scene. Additionally, emergency officers and vehicles were on standby. However, some things were still out of our control. Our team did not expect a turn out of that capacity, but we truly appreciate the support of all that came & those who traveled to attend. Our prayers and deepest condolences go out to the individuals and families involved.”
As investigators piece this all together, a topic that is also certain to come up is the capacity for the event. Witnesses said that, with people running at the sound of gunshots, police and emergency vehicles were unable to promptly enter the scene upon arrival.
No arrests relating to the shooting have yet been made, according to police. Police said their investigation into the shooting, its motive and the circumstances surrounding Gilmore's death are still under investigation.
This is the second mass shooting at a party in Dallas in recent weeks. On March 19, 10 people were injured in a shooting during a spring break party at the southern Dallas venue The Space. One of the victims of that incident, an 18-year-old man, later died from his injuries. Police are still searching for suspects in that shooting as well.