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7 youth shot at car meetup in Massachusetts, police searching for suspect and motive

<i>WCVB via AP via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Crime tape is placed near the scene of an overnight shooting in Methuen
WCVB via AP via CNN Newsource
Crime tape is placed near the scene of an overnight shooting in Methuen

By Sarah Dewberry, CNN

(CNN) — Seven people were shot, including some victims in their late teens, in northeastern Massachusetts early Sunday, during what law enforcement officials described as a spontaneous car meetup.

Police officers responded to an area on Lindbergh Avenue in Methuen, Essex County, shortly before 2 a.m. ET following multiple 911 calls regarding a shooting, Methuen Police Chief Scott McNamara said at a Sunday news conference.

When officers arrived, McNamara said they found seven victims suffering from gunshot wounds. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital and one victim was taken by air ambulance from the scene, according to officials.

The victim’s ages range from late teens to 22 years old and they are from all over Essex County, authorities said.

Five of the victims were in stable condition and two of the victims were listed in critical condition, Essex County District Attorney Paul Tucker told reporters.

No one has yet been released from the hospital, according to Tucker, who added an eighth victim was found at the scene. The victim was fleeing the area when they suffered serious head injuries.

“I want to reassure our community that while these spontaneous car club meetups do not generally escalate to this type of violence, our policy has been and always will continue to take law enforcement action whenever appropriate to discourage this activity from occurring in the first place,” McNamara said.

The shooting occurred during a car party, which typically happens in an abandoned parking lot where young people between the ages of 16 and 20 listen to music, dance, vape and drink, according to McNamara, who said area law enforcement agencies have been dealing with the gatherings over the past several years.

“In the past, when we found it here in Methuen, we’ve always taken law enforcement action,” McNamara said. “We’ll cite them for trespassing.”

McNamara said police have been able to infiltrate and learn where these events will take place, but this incident was different.

“Unfortunately, where the incident happened last night, they’ve never had that type of meetup in that type of area before,” McNamara said.

No arrests have been made and police are reviewing several pieces of security footage from the area, authorities said.

Authorities do not yet have a motive for the shooting, according to Tucker.

CNN’s Ashley R. Williams contributed to this report.

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