CHICAGO, Illinois: On Sunday, Aug. 14, three people who were arguing as a group was killed when they were hit in the air by a speeding car. On Monday, Aug. 15, Chicago police said they believed the hit-and-run incident outside a gay bar was a premeditated attack. They also said it was too early to say whether it was a hate crime.
The three black men were identified as Devonta Vivetter, 27, Donald Huey, 25, and Jaylen Ausley, 23. At 5:00 am on Sunday, they were hit by a car in a crowd in front of Jeffrey Pub in the South End, throwing them into the air. A large group of people appeared to be divided when the crash occurred. A fourth person, also a member of the gang, was injured.
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While it’s too early to know for sure, Detective Inspector Brendan Deenehan said the victim’s race or sexual orientation may have been the target. This appears to be intentional, the chief said. “There is no evidence that anyone attempted to harm these individuals because of their race, religion or other characteristics. That may change once we bring in suspects and other witnesses.”
Deenihan claims the perpetrators are still at large, even though the car was found four blocks from the scene of the accident. “Obviously, you can’t charge a car crime,” the chief said. He then turned to the public for help. “We need the driver’s identity. There were a lot of people there, and people who were in the bar before this happened. We have no doubt that some people really wanted to help us by naming suspects.”
Many loved ones paid tribute to the three people who lost their lives in the horrific tragedy. Ausley returned to Southside after earning a degree from the University of Michigan to work with disadvantaged children at the Gary Comer Youth Center. The facility offers tutoring, job training, and career preparation courses. In an effort to provide the black community with job training skills and programs, Project Love Chicago said in a statement: “Many young people who work with Jaylen have connected with them, expressing their appreciation for Jaylen’s commitment to being a great example. We thank you for your kindness, which helped us remember the changes he made so quickly. We will miss Jaylen, who brought light to any space with his infectious enthusiasm.” They continued: “He is an amazing young man with big ambitions, moral integrity, humility, love and care for his neighbors. He is developing significantly as a leader in his community. He has a lot of plans for the future, and a lot more to do.”
Donald Huey’s sister, Chana Riley, said her brother recently revealed his plans to move back to the Chicago area and work at the casino. Huey lives in Los Angeles and works as a receptionist in a luxury apartment building. His sister told the Chicago Sun-Times that he loves designing clothes and dressing people. “He’s going to say it doesn’t look right and it’s not unique enough. He’s going to harass me and I’ll always remember it,” Riley said.
Vivitt’s cousin Anita revealed how grief his family was in an interview with ABC 7. “All day, I’ve been crying. In short, it’s hard for me to believe. He doesn’t deserve it. And you go on like this…it’s ridiculous!” she said.
Additionally, the LGBT bar has apologized for the tragedy. The owner of Jeffrey Pub declared: “We are weighed down by the horrific events that took place this morning. We support those who have lost a friend or loved one. To ensure everyone can go home safely, we always recommend that you leave immediately and go to your vehicle. “
The incident, which appeared to be a confrontation between many people standing on the road before the disaster, was caught on dashcam video. The car sped past the crowd, its engine running before it was even seen. A man in a blue sweatshirt was pushed into the middle of the road, where he was later seen writhing. The other three were quickly ejected several feet into the air.
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