2 teens shot near South Side church

July 17, 2009 (CHICAGO) Police say the teens were part of a group taking part in anti-violence activities at the church in the 1200-block of West 78th Place.

The teens were in serious condition.

On the doorstep of a church that prides itself on being a sanctuary from violence two teens were shot.

"Everyone was running. Everyone was screaming," said Malika Kemp, witness.

It was 6:30 and St. Sabina's gym was busy with teens playing basketball when a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old stepped outside and into an altercation with others.

"I just heard him say 'y'all not going to do anything to me. I'm by myself.' Just trying to prove he was tough and it ended up getting him shot," said Shalonda McClain, witness.

"Every Friday night, we open up our Ark for safety, and the reason we have it open is for kids to be safe on Friday nights," said Rev. Michael Pleger, pastor, St. Sabina Church.

The priest who has crusaded against gangs and guns says this is the first time anyone has dared open fire on his block.

"As far as we know there wasn't an altercation inside the gym but when they get outside on the sidewalk they got into an argument, some kind of verbal argument, with the offenders and shots were fired," said Cmdr. Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Department.

"I'm hurt and I'm angry. Our kids are being shot up all over this damn city," said Fr. Pleger.

Police say they believe the shooter left in a foor-door brown Pontiac. Fr. Pleger is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

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