A month after shooting inside Sox Park, a mystery persists

A month after two women were hit by gunfire while sitting in the bleachers during a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field, the shooting that stunned the city and made news around the country appears no closer to being solved than it was in the hours after the incident, sources said.

Rumors and hearsay, peddled largely by content aggregators on social media, have done little to quell speculation about the shooting — which, in the nearly 150-year history of Major League Baseball, is believed to be perhaps just the fourth instance of a fan being shot while inside a big league ballpark.

Investigators have been weighing whether the woman who sustained the more severe injuries was somehow able to bring a gun into the stadium that later discharged while she was in the left field bleachers, according to police sources not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation. That woman has not been cooperative with Chicago Police Department investigators in the weeks since she was shot, sources said.

The woman was shot in the inner thigh and through the calf, one high-ranking police source said, giving the firing of the weapon the trademarks of a pistol accidentally discharging in someone’s pocket.

The idea the shot came from outside the South Side ballpark would make it “a magic bullet even JFK would be proud of,” said the source, who has knowledge of the progress of the investigation. The source predicted a protracted investigation with few avenues for determining what took place.

The woman’s attorney, John Malm, did not respond to repeated requests for comment, including on whether his client was being cooperative.

But in a statement issued days after the shooting, Malm vehemently denied that his client was in any way responsible for her injuries.

“We have reviewed photographic evidence and X-rays of our client’s injuries with firearms and medical experts who confirm the gunshot wound our client sustained was not self-inflicted and was not the result of her accidentally discharging a firearm,” Malm previously said. “We will continue investigating this matter further to pursue justice on behalf of our client who sustained serious personal injuries as a result of this shooting.”

Malm is a personal injury lawyer, but no lawsuit had been filed as of last week.

The Chicago Police Department’s investigation of the shooting continues as team leaders and police officials have offered starkly different explanations of where the bullets came from.

It remains unclear if any weapons have been recovered by police after the shooting.

Outgoing interim police Superintendent Fred Waller told reporters less than three days later that investigators had nearly ruled out the possibility that the bullets came from outside the stadium.

“We’re dispelling a lot of things,” Waller said. “(A shot) coming from outside is something we’ve almost completely dispelled. We’re still looking at every avenue. It’s still under investigation. Something from inside, it could’ve happened that way. We’re looking at every avenue, exploring every lead and everything that we can get.”

That version differed radically from the team’s position.

Less than a week later, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said it was highly unlikely that a gun was somehow brought into Guaranteed Rate Field, the Sox’s home stadium, which is owned by the state of Illinois.

“They’re still investigating,” Reinsdorf said. “I don’t want to get into specific facts while they’re investigating but have really done a deep dive into this and I don’t see any way in the world that the shots could have come from inside the ballpark. Let’s let the police continue with their investigation. At this point all the superintendent is prepared to say is they have not ruled out that they came from outside the ballpark.”

A CPD spokesman said Friday that the investigation remains open and ongoing.

Also still in question is why the game was allowed to continue.

Brian McDermott, CPD’s chief of patrol, requested that the White Sox postpone the rest of the game after the shooting occurred, but only Section 161 — where the women were seated — was evacuated, while play on the field continued. Canceled, though, was a scheduled postgame concert featuring pop rapper Vanilla Ice.

The two women, ages 42 and 26, were in Section 161 when they suffered gunshot wounds during the fourth inning of the Aug. 25 game between the White Sox and the Oakland A’s.

The older woman — Malm’s client, who he said was a season ticket holder — was shot in the right leg. The younger woman, a Chicago Public Schools teacher — suffered a graze wound to her abdomen, according to a CPD incident report of the shooting obtained by the Tribune.

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The report states that the 42-year-old “related that she heard a loud popping noise when she felt a (sic) object struck her, when she looked around, a live bullet was found in her hooded sweatshirt which was tied around her waist.”

She “heard a loud popping noise, when she stood up she observed blood coming out of her right leg,” the report continues.

The report notes that the woman, who was treated at UChicago Medical Center, has a valid firearm owner’s identification card. The younger woman declined medical treatment at the ballpark.

Police have been scouring security camera footage as they attempt to determine the direction of the probe.

The shooting occurred during an especially disappointing White Sox season, which has only further alienated the team’s perpetually grouchy fan base and has already led to a reshuffling of front office personnel.

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