At least four teenagers were shot Friday, two fatally, near a Chicago high school and while public officials resumed calls for cracking down on legal gun ownership, Windy City Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) initially offered a very different statement.
(Video: ABC 7)
The tragic incident occurred outside Benito Juarez Community Academy Friday afternoon just as classes were being dismissed. According to police statements, 15-year-old Brandon Perez and an as yet unidentified 14-year-old victim were both shot in the head and pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital after an unknown suspect had opened fire outside the school, according to ABC7.
As the incident unfolded, the school reportedly went on lockdown and students were ushered back inside for safety where they remained during the initial investigation. Parents like Nicasio Rogel had been arriving to pick up their children and told ABC 7 of the gunshots, “We thought that they were firecrackers. I feel sick! I feel angry! Because there are things that should not be happening in the school.”
The two other 15-year-old victims, a female said to have been grazed on the thigh and a male who was shot in the thigh and shoulder, were also transported to Stroger to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. It remains unknown if any of the victims were students at Benito Juarez and if the incident was a targeted attack.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez said during a press conference late Friday, “All of us are trying to find answers. Of course, I’m very concerned because this happened on our grounds.”
The Chicago Police Department released an image of a person of interest they hope to identify concealed by a black ski mask and hood, and while the unknown person was not named as a suspect, WGN’s Courtney Spinelli reported law enforcement cautioned members of the public from approaching the individual if seen.
#NEW: Take a good look at these pics, released this AM by Chicago police. Officials are looking to ID a person of interest in the shooting outside of Benito Juarez High School yesterday that left 2 dead and 2 others injured. PD: If seen, do not approach. Call 911. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/iaY9jauI1K
— Courtney Spinelli (@CourtSpinelliTV) December 17, 2022
Politicians began issuing their own statements following news of the tragedy, including Governor JB Pritzker (D-IL) who wrote, “Schools are the cornerstone of neighborhoods and students deserve to feel safe. Earlier today, senseless gun violence took the lives of two people outside of Benito Juarez High School and injured two more. My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who lost their lives today and I pray for a full recovery for those injured. MK and I are thinking of the entire Benito Juarez community. We must put an end to these unspeakable tragedies and rid our communities of gun violence.”
My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who lost their lives today and I pray for a full recovery for those injured. MK and I are thinking of the entire Benito Juarez community. We must put an end to these unspeakable tragedies and rid our communities of gun violence
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) December 17, 2022
Heartbroken for this family who will celebrate the holidays without their 16-year-old boy. And keeping the other three victims in my prayers.
Progress was made in Congress this year. But w/ gun violence now the leading cause of death for America’s children, we must do more. https://t.co/WyfQr25mVb
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) December 16, 2022
Likewise, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) offered their own statement assuring the public of future updates as information became available: “The safety of our school community is our top priority. This afternoon, we received reports that shots had been fired outside of Benito Juarez High School shortly after dismissal. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) and paramedics responded quickly to the scene. CPS remains in close contact with CPD and this incident is under investigation. The CPS Office of Safety and Security and other District leadership are working closely with school leadership and staff as well as CPD to gather information and respond to this incident. CPS will keep Benito Juarez families updated as well as the greater community. Our thoughts are with all those impacted by this tragedy.”
Notably absent so far were remarks from Lightfoot who has been under fire recently for the recent move to encrypt police scanner transmissions making them no longer accessible to the public in real-time. As Chicago-based reporter William Kelly had said earlier this week, “more Chicagoans will die–as a result of her actions.”
Similarly, a coalition of news outlets voiced their concerns over no longer being able to provide the public with up-to-the-minute reporting on dangerous situations saying, in part, the obstruction has “…jeopardized the lives of everyone…”
Chicago is dangerous, but the mayor is determined to make it worsehttps://t.co/GVuxBvGfiU
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) December 14, 2022
At the time of this posting, Lightfoot had yet to issue a statement on the tragedy at Benito Juarez, but shortly after reports had come in she did post that she had tested positive for COVID-19 adding, “This is a reminder to get vaccinated and boosted this holiday season to keep you and your loved ones safe.”
Earlier today, I tested positive for COVID-19. I am thankfully not experiencing symptoms which I attribute to being vaccinated and fully boosted. This is a reminder to get vaccinated and boosted this holiday season to keep you and your loved ones safe. pic.twitter.com/92DDWrKy7u
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) December 16, 2022
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