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Three shot dead at point-blank range during Wisconsin drag race, authorities say

Three men died after they were shot at point-blank range during a car race attended by thousands in Wisconsin, authorities said.

The shooting happened around 7 p.m. Sunday at Great Lakes Dragaway 30 miles outside of Milwaukee. The three victims had walked up to a food vendor in the parking area when a man shot them "at a very close range," Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told reporters during a news conference.

Several questions still remain unanswered. Beth said investigators have yet to identify or find the suspect, who they believe was driving a black car.

It remains unclear what prompted the shooting, although there were questions about whether gang problems might have played a role. Beth said investigators do not know if the victims and the suspect were members of rival gangs, or if they knew each other.

"Usually when something like this happens, the people involve talk . . . What I'm hoping happens is someone who knows what's going on or saw what happened would call us, give us more information and help us catch the person who did this," Beth told reporters.

Authorities describe the suspect as a man in his 20s wearing cutoff blue jean shorts and a black hoodie sweatshirt. His head is shaved on the side. Investigators do not know yet what type of weapon he used.

Two of the victims died immediately; the third died on the way to the hospital, Beth said. All three were in their 30s and were from Illinois.

No one else was hurt.

The event, called Larry's Fun Fest, drew more than 5,000 people from Milwaukee, Chicago and surrounding areas, according to the sheriff's department. The Great Lakes Dragaway's website describes it as Wisconsin's biggest tailgating and racing event for families.

Beth said he does not recall shootings happening at Great Lakes Dragaway before.

"This is pretty distressing. It's a beautiful, sunny night. There's a lot of families out . . . I can see several children here," Beth said. "I'd feel a lot better - if there's a way to feel better about this - if we had the suspect in custody, or we knew more about who this was."

The Great Lakes Dragaway is a quarter mile dragstrip located in the middle of farmland in Union Grove, Wis., just 30 miles from Milwaukee and 70 miles from Chicago. It hosts a variety of auto racing events, that attracts drag-race enthusiasts from the Midwest.

Author Information: Kristine Phillips is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.