Four teenagers were shot in a drive-by attack outside an ice cream shop across from Schurz High School in the Northwest on Wednesday afternoon, Chicago police say.
The shooting happened just before the dismissal of the third day of classes to start the new school year.
The teenagers were in the patio of the store in the 4300 block of West Addison Street when a dark colored SUV drove by and someone inside opened fire around 2.45pm, according to the deputy police chief , Roberto Nieves.
A 15-year-old boy was shot in the face and neck and taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago police said. He was listed in critical condition.
The other three victims were transported to other hospitals in good condition: another 15-year-old boy with a back injury, a 17-year-old boy whose leg was scraped and an 18-year-old man with a leg.
Police said two of the victims were Chicago public school students and a third was enrolled in an alternative school. CPS officials would not comment.
In a letter to parents, Schurz principal Heidy Moran said the shooting took place shortly before the dismissal and the school was briefly closed before students were released for the day.
Moran said CPS and CPD will be tightening security around the school this week and that social workers and crisis counselors will be available for students traumatized by the shooting. She said she plans to hold a parents’ meeting on Friday to discuss the incident.
Nieves called the shooting “very upsetting” and assured parents that the department would focus on keeping children safe inside or outside of school.
“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our children, especially our children going to school,” Nieves said.
Mily Garcia said she was waiting outside school to pick up her 16-year-old daughter when she spoke with another parent who saw someone open fire from a passing SUV on a group at the La Michoacana ice cream shop, a popular meeting place for students. after school.
Garcia said her daughter wasn’t released until around 4 p.m.
“Thank God she’s safe,” Garcia said. “I was nervous. I wish she wasn’t in school right now.
Garcia said La Michoacana was a sore spot for parents because fights between students regularly broke out there. She said she had spoken to several parents who wanted the restaurant closed.
“They’re going to keep shooting here,” Garcia said. “The best thing for the school would be to take it out.”
A female employee inside the restaurant said she was working when she and a colleague got down after hearing at least four gunshots ring out. Moments later, the worker – who did not want to be identified – heard screaming outside.
Two students said they were locked in their classroom after the shots rang out.
“At first we thought it was a drill,” said one student, who asked not to be named. Five minutes after being ordered to stay in their classrooms, students said they realized it was more serious.
Similar shootings outside CPS high schools also marked the start of last school year.
Jamari Williams, 15, was killed two blocks from Simeon High School in September 2021, minutes after school ended for the day in Chatham. His classmate Kentrell McNeal, also 15, was shot and killed hours later in Hyde Park, their two deaths rocking the school community for months.
The following month, a 14-year-old girl and a security guard were shot dead as they walked out of Phillips Academy High School in Bronzeville. The student, hit by gunfire at the door of her school, underwent surgery and was hospitalized for days.
CPS communities have struggled with gun violence trauma over the years, often finding a lack of resources to help children and staff deal with the shooting or murder of a student. Chicago educators and parents envied the traumatic reaction of students in Highland Park as they returned to school after the July 4 tragedy in the suburbs.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said last week that the district needs help from other city agencies to address mental health and gun violence issues hurting students.
The district partnered with police and firefighters for an active-fire exercise, and CPS safety and security chief Jadine Chou said schools were ready for this type of emergency. But the next step is to figure out how to better protect children away from schools, she said.
Schurz High School is located in the Old Irving Park neighborhood. In 2019, a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed when a gunman standing in a corner near the school shot at his car. In 2006, three students were shot in front of the school.