Police are searching for a suspect after a shooting at an Ohio birthday party left 1 person dead and 24 others injured

Police searching for a suspect in a mass shooting at a birthday party in Akron, Ohio, that left a 27-year-old-man dead and 24 others injured said they’re worried about the possibility of retaliatory violence.

Officers responded to 911 calls shortly after midnight Sunday, reporting shots fired and multiple victims struck in a residential area, according to a statement from the city’s mayor and police chief.

The shooting took place during a “large birthday party” that earlier in the night had more than 200 people in attendance, Akron Police Chief Brian Harding said in a Sunday evening news conference.

“All incidents of gun violence are tragedies, but here the sheer number of victims is shocking and deeply concerning,” Akron Mayor Shammas Malik said at the news conference.

The shooting marks the latest instance of a celebration in the US ending in gunfire. This year alone, bullets have put a grim end to sports rallies, family gatherings, religious celebrations, parties and a high school senior skip day.

And it’s one of more than 192 mass shootings in the US so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. One of those incidents, with four or more people injured not including the shooter, took place just hours after the gunfire in Ohio, when a Pennsylvania bar fight ended with two people dead and seven injured, police in Allegheny County said.

In the Akron shooting’s aftermath, authorities found the scene “littered” with spent shell casings that stretched down a whole block, the police chief said.

“Based on the layout of the spent shell (casings) it appears consistent with someone driving by shooting out of car,” Harding said. “We believe that some individuals at the party may have returned fire based on physical evidence at the scene.”

At least two handguns were recovered from the scene, but authorities found different shell casings from multiple kinds of firearms, Harding said.

Authorities do not know if the shooter or the vehicle were hit by gunfire, and could not yet provide a suspect or vehicle description, the chief said.

Investigators are also worried about the possibility of retaliation and are working to try and prevent further violence, Harding said.

Officials from several agencies are offering a total reward of $22,500 for information that leads to the identification and arrest of a suspect, Malik said in a post Sunday. People can share information anonymously, officials said.

“We are imploring the community to come forward,” Harding said.

“We believe there are people in the community this evening who saw something or know something and we’re asking them to come forward,” he said. “We believe there were dozens of people at the party at the time of the shooting, and potentially over 100 people who may have witnessed the incident.”

“Even a small detail can help us crack this case and locate the suspect or suspects involved,” the police chief added.

‘This country has a gun violence epidemic,’ mayor says

In total, there were 25 gunshot victims, including the person who was killed, police confirmed.

At least two people were in critical condition Sunday evening, Harding said. Some of the victims were treated at a hospital and released.

Authorities have not released any identifying information about the man who was killed, nor about the wounded victims, but Harding said they ranged from 19 to 43 years old, with most being in their 30s.

“We know that this country has a gun violence epidemic, and that this is the latest in a long line of incidents we’ve seen across the nation,” Malik said. “The city of Akron and our Akron Police Department remain committed to fighting all violence, especially gun violence.”

“I want to be very clear, anyone who was involved in last night’s shooting will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” he said, and also warned that anyone who perpetrates retaliatory violence will be held accountable.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

CNN’s Leah Thomeer and Paradise Afshar contributed to this report.

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