SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Four people have been shot at late-night gatherings in Springfield since early June. Two of those shootings were deadly.

The most recent shooting was outside a business on West Chestnut where a man was shot in the hand.

Now, the Springfield Police Department is working on ways to deter this overnight violence.

“We have had large crowds that tend to gather up after the bars close, and particularly downtown where there are larger groups, we end up with those persons finding someplace else to continue getting together,” said Major Stacey Parton. “In June of this year, we noticed that there was an increase in those types of gatherings.”

Police recognized these gatherings as an issue after Adrian Gutierez was shot in June at a strip mall on Sunshine in the middle of the night. He died a few days later.

In July, Larry McCoo was shot and killed, and another man was shot at 3:30 a.m. in a parking lot on Kansas Expressway.

“When it comes to gatherings on private property, it’s really just what the circumstances are and what people are doing,” said Springfield’s assistant city attorney Chris Hoeman.

Hoeman says it’s technically not illegal to gather during the early morning hours.

“There’s no automatic curfew or anything like that,” Hoeman said. “It’s really again, do they have permission to be there because the owner asked them to leave? And are they doing anything illegal beyond just being present in the parking lot.”

Police say these parking lot gatherings present more safety concerns than someone having a large house party.

“Maybe a residence can’t hold the number of people that you would experience in a more open setting like that,” Parton said, “And also if you’re at your friend’s house, it’s usually an invitation situation. If you group up in a parking lot, anybody that’s transiting the street could potentially become involved in that group.”

With more people involved, Parton says there is a higher chance for more victims.

“There are more people that could become victimized just because of the proximity of a larger number of people,” Parton said. “But also when you add alcohol to the mix, people aren’t making the best decisions and tend to act a little bit more irrational.”

SPD asks if you see a group causing disruption to call 911.