ST. LOUIS – One of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in St. Louis returned Saturday, beginning hours after an overnight shooting on its grounds. Police are also investigating a second shooting Saturday on Cherokee Street as the festival was wrapping up for the day.
Thousands gathered Saturday for the Cinco de Mayo Festival along Cherokee Street in south St. Louis for a parade, live performances, food, drinks and more.
Just before midnight Saturday, two people died, and two others were hurt in a shooting right in the heart of Cherokee Street at Exotic Bar and Grill. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department says details surrounding what led up to this incident are still being investigated, and no suspect information is available at this time.
When officers responded to the scene Friday, they found a 34-year-old man with gunshot wounds to his thigh and elbow. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated. Officers were told that two victims – one man in his 20’s and another in his 40’s – were taken to a hospital, and both later died from their injuries.
Another victim, a 24-year-old woman, was grazed on her foot. Homicide detectives with SLMPD are handling the investigation.
On Saturday, the Cinco de Mayo festival was in full swing. It’s brought up to 40,000 people in the past to celebrate Mexican culture.
FOX 2 spoke to several festival goers about last night’s incident and how safe they felt Saturday:
“I’ve been enjoying my time here the entire time. There’s been nothing going on that I feel that I’m unsafe,” said festival goer DeJuan Parks. “I feel there is enough police presence here that we feel safe.”
“I think the special thing about Cherokee Street is there’s like a sense of community here,” said festival goer Fursan. “People kind of know each other, people have each other’s back, so I think that sense of community brings a sense of comfort and safety here.”
“I do feel safe,” said another festival goer. “It just feels like another parade.”
More than 100 vendors set up along six blocks of Cherokee Street, offering food, drinks and family-friendly activities in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The festival also includes artists, a mechanical bull, Lucha Libre wrestling, and two entertainment stages.