Authorities said a shooting at a 12-year-old child’s birthday party in Louisiana on Saturday ended with nine juveniles wounded, adding to an already disturbing rise of gun violence in America so far this year.
More than 60 youths were gathered for the event at a house in LaPlace, located just west of New Orleans, when two groups of male juveniles “with an ongoing feud” arrived and began arguing, the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
Gunfire involving two firearms broke out. All nine juveniles wounded in the incident were treated at a local hospital. Two of them remain hospitalized in stable condition, the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff Mike Tregre expressed frustration that despite there having been plenty of people at the scene no one has come forward with information that could help lead to an arrest.
“Not one person has given a formal statement,” he said in a statement. “I am asking witnesses to come forward with information to help us learn more about what happened.”
The injuries include a 17-year-old male who was shot in the arm; a 16-year-old male who was grazed in the ribs; a 15-year-old male who was grazed in his ankle; a 15-year-old male who was shot in the foot; a 14-year-old male who was shot in the leg; a 13-year-old male who was shot in the leg; a 12-year-old who was shot in both legs; a 16-year-old male who was shot in the stomach and a 14-year-old male who was shot in the head, authorities said.
The gunfire comes amid a particularly violent year for shootings across the country, with CNN tallying at least 45 mass shootings ― incidents where four or more people, excluding the gunman, are wounded or killed by gunfire ― since March 16. That’s when eight people were killed by a gunman at three Atlanta-area spas.
This rise in violence comes after 2020, which saw the start of the pandemic and the smallest number of mass killings in more than a decade, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.
Most recently, a man on Thursday killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis before also killing himself. This attack follows a former NFL player fatally shooting six people in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on April 7 before turning the gun on himself, as well as a third gunman killing four people and critically wounding a fifth at a Southern California office building on March 31. Just before that, a fourth gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, on March 22.
President Joe Biden earlier this month announced a half-dozen executive actions to combat what he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment” of gun violence in America. His actions include cracking down on so-called “ghost guns” that can be assembled at home and lack a federally required serial number for tracing.
He has also announced the nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The federal agency, which is tasked with enforcing existing gun laws, has not had a Senate-confirmed director since 2015.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Sunday that there’s no dispute that gun violence has become a public health emergency in the U.S.
“Myself, as a public health person, I think you can’t run away from that,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash during an interview on “State of the Union.” “When you see people getting killed, in this last month it’s just been horrifying what’s happened. How can you say that’s not a public health issue?”
This story has been updated with additional details on Saturday’s shooting.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.