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Two men who were arrested Friday in connection with the alleged attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been released after being questioned by police.
Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said Friday night that the individuals were released “due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations.”
“Detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” Guglielmi tweeted.
Police had classified the two men as “potential suspects” after identifying them as “persons of interest” who were in the area where Smollett said he was attacked in the early morning hours of Jan. 29. Smollett, who is openly gay, told police two men yelled racist and anti-gay slurs, hit him in the face, poured a bleach-like chemical on him, and tied a rope around his neck.
Around 7:30 p.m. local time, the men were still being questioned by police, according to Guglielmi. Less than two hours later, he tweeted that they had been released without being charged.
The two are brothers who worked as extras on Empire and occasionally went to the gym with Smollett, their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, told CBS Chicago on Thursday.
The brothers were returning from a trip to Nigeria when police detained them at Chicago O’Hare Airport on Wednesday, Schmidt told the local station.
It was not immediately clear what “new evidence” police were looking into Friday. A police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News she did not have any additional information.
In a Good Morning America interview that aired Thursday morning, Smollett said he was “pissed off” that some were doubting his claims because police weren’t immediately able to find surveillance footage verifying his report. Others have been critical of his decision to send police redacted phone records that investigators deemed “not sufficient in a criminal case.”
“At first it was a thing of like, listen, if I tell the truth then that’s it ’cause it’s the truth,” Smollett said.
Smollett also said he believed the two dark figures seen in grainy surveillance images released by police were the men who attacked him.
Five people were killed and multiple people injured after a gunman opened fire Friday at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, police said.
The gunman, identified as Gary Martin, was killed by officers when they arrived.
Police, firefighters, and ambulances responded in force Friday afternoon to the Henry Pratt Company plant in an industrial park. Around 2:30 p.m., SWAT officers were seen entering the building. By 3 p.m., the city of Aurora said a gunman had been “apprehended,” and the area remained on lockdown.
Chris Nelson, a spokesperson for the Kane County Coroner’s office, told BuzzFeed News there was at least one fatality in connection with the shooting.
Local hospitals were treating at least seven patients as of Friday afternoon. Three people were being treated for non-life threatening injuries at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, and two people were transported to local Advocate Health hospitals, a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. Mercy Hospital in Aurora was treating two people.
Among the injured were multiple police officers, city spokesperson Clayton Muhammad told the Chicago ABC affiliate, who were reported to be in stable condition.
The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police said four Aurora Police Department officers who were part of the initial response to the shooting had been injured.
“These four heroes willingly ran into harm’s way to protect their fellow citizens and very nearly paid the ultimate price,” a statement from the police union said.
John Probst, a man who works at the plant, told the ABC affiliate he was inside the building when shooting erupted and that he recognized the gunman as a coworker. The man had worked at the plant for around 15 years and came into work at 7 a.m. Friday as usual, he added. Probst fled and was not injured, but he said he saw one person bleeding.
The gunman was carrying a handgun with a laser sight, Probst said.
“He was shooting everybody,” he said.
Local schools went into lockdown as a precaution, and the Chicago division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded.
The White House said President Trump “has been briefed and is monitoring the ongoing situation in Aurora.” Trump later tweeted his appreciation of local law enforcement.
Pratt manufactures valves for water systems and is located about 40 miles west of Chicago.
This is a developing story. Check back soon for updates.