Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Four Illinois teenagers were shot, two of them fatally, Friday afternoon near Benito Juarez High School in Chicago.

Police Supt. David Brown said school was being dismissed in staggered stages Friday afternoon when the shooting occurred outside of the school, at 2150 S. Laflin St. at Cermak Road.

A Chicago Fire Department spokesperson said all four teens were taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County.

One boy, 14, was struck in the head and died. Another boy, 15, was also struck in the head and killed. The older boy was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office as Brandon Perez.

Another 15-year-old boy was struck in the thigh and shoulder and initially reported in good condition. A 15-year-old girl had a graze wound to the thigh and reported in good condition.

A source close to the school told CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek that me all four victims – three boys and a girl – were Juarez high school students. He said the shooting targeted the three boys, while the girl was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Police and the Chicago Public Schools have not confirmed the victims are students.

“I feel sick. I feel angry,” said Nicasio Rogel, “because these are things that should not be happening in school.”

Rogel is a volunteer crossing guard with a sophomore son at Juarez. He was outside the school at the time, and said students had just been dismissed around 2:30 p.m., when he heard six to eight gunshots. At first, he thought it was fireworks, but then he saw two teens on the ground with backpacks on.

He said the principal yelled for students to get back inside after the shooting, and the school was later placed on lockdown, before students were sent home for the day by about 3:30 p.m.

Later, we watched as students were let out around 3:45 p.m., some hand in hand, faces distraught.

Juarez parent Emanuel Orozco said his daughter called him about the shooting around 2:45 p.m.

“She said that she was coming outside, and then the, I guess, security guards in the school were telling them go to the nearest classroom,” he said. “It’s scary.”

Crossing guard Nicasio Rogel is also the father of a boy who is a sophomore at the school. He said he heard six to eight gunshots and saw two people on the ground with backpacks still on their backs.

“I am afraid. I am scared,” Rogel said. “But he still has to get educated.”

No suspects were in custody as of early Friday evening, and no shooters had been identified. Police were seeking POD camera and private video from the scene as they investigated, Brown said.

Chicago Public Schools officials issued the following statement:

“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.”

Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Pedro Martinez also spoke at the news conference with Brown on Friday evening. Martinez said anytime something like this happens on school grounds, it will always be a major concern. He said CPS is working on providing significant supports for students and families when they return on Monday morning.

As of Saturday morning, Chicago police issued a community alert with images of the suspected shooter at the school.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com