Benito Juarez shooting: Students hold walkout protest after 2 killed outside Chicago high school

Chicago police released a surveillance photo of a suspect believed to be involved in a deadly shooting

ByJessica D'Onofrio, Eric Horng, and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Monday, December 19, 2022
Benito Juarez HS students hold walkout after 2 killed in shooting
Benito Juarez High School students plan held a walkout Monday after two teens were killed in a shooting outside the school Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Students at Benito Juarez Community Academy held a walkout Monday to protest gun violence after two of their classmates were shot and killed outside the school Friday.

Students gathered at the memorial which began growing over the weekend. They talked about the teenagers who lost their lives and demonstrated around the school to denounce the violence.

RELATED: 'All I heard was shots': Sister was on phone with little brother when 2 killed outside CPS school

Student Diana Trevino was scared to come back.

"A bit nervous because it just happened Friday, two days ago three days ago and like you never know what's gonna happen if they're gonna come back today or not," she said.

Brandon Perez, 15, and his friend 14-year-old Nathan Billegas were gunned down outside of the Pilsen neighborhood school Friday afternoon.

Many students heard the shots and ran for cover. Two other teenagers were also hurt.

"It was just like traumatizing. I couldn't even sleep at night, just replaying that same image in my head," said Camila Lopez, who was friends with Perez. "I was looking through our messages and I was just crying and crying and crying. He was too pure. He was too sweet for this world. I can't imagine how his mom feels. He would always talk about his little sister."

"I had one class with him. It was my last class and the day that it happened, that's the class that I had with him. And I just can't imagine that was the last time I was going to see him," said sophomore Jesse Rodriguez.

Chicago police released photos of a person who they said is connected to the shooting.

WATCH | CPD gives update after 4 teens shot, 2 killed in Pilsen

Four teens have been shot, two killed, in a shooting outside Benito Juarez High School in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood Friday.

"No one should have to come to school afraid," said Kiya Vaughn, who planned the walkout. "Honestly, I feel like we should just come here to learn. We shouldn't have to come here and worry about like us like dying or anything."

Vaughn said she wants school administrators to address gang activity in and around the school.

"For people who aren't in gangs, honestly, it's scary for us to come here every day and have to know that there's people here that could be removed and then they're just not," she said.

Vaughn and other students are asking for more security to protect students from ongoing violence.

"Taking away the cops from the school was a bad idea," student Christina De Alejandro said. "At the time, it seemed like a good idea but now it's coming back in our faces a little bit."

"Not even security, just police roaming around, I think that would make me feel safe," Rodriguez said.

Meanwhile, community activists with a group called the Violence Interrupters are supporting the student's call to action.

"No kids that attend these high schools should ever have to worry about losing his or her life," Tio Hardiman, president of Violence Interrupters, said. "Those types of crimes should not be happening in front of these schools anytime."

CPS officials said the students here have a strong voice and they support how they're choosing to use it.

CPS said grief counselors will be here all week.

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