More patrols after 4 hurt in Chicago shooting near Irving Park high school

ByChristian Piekos and Maher Kawash via WLS logo
Friday, August 26, 2022
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More patrols were outside a high school on Chicago's Northwest Side Thursday, after four teens were injured in a drive-by shooting.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More patrols were outside a high school on Chicago's Northwest Side Thursday, after four teens were injured in a drive-by shooting.

Chicago fire officials said four people were shot near Carl Schurz High School in Irving Park Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department said the victims were shot at Milwaukee Avenue and Addison Street, around 2:45 p.m., just about 10 minutes before class was about to let out.

Police said a dark-colored SUV pulled up on Addison, and someone inside opened fire at a group of people on the patio of an ice cream shop just south of the intersection. The SUV then fled east on Addison.

Police said a 15-year-old boy was struck in the face and neck and taken to Lurie Children's Hospital in critical condition. Another 15-year-old boy was struck in the back and taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.

A 17-year-old boy was taken to Community First Hospital in good condition with a graze wound to the leg, and an 18-year-old boy was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center also in good condition with a gunshot wound to the leg.

CPD had said all four were CPS students, but later corrected themselves, saying two of the victims are CPS students, one attends an alternative school and the fourth victim is an 18-year-old man, who may not be a student.

Students leaving the high school Thursday aid the injured teens are their classmates.

"We knew all of them" one student said. "We're not that close to them, but I feel sorry for them. I don't know what they went through, but I feel bad for them for sure."

"This is very upsetting, and we understand that, and we're very upset ourselves and frustrated with this. Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our kids," Deputy Chief Robert Nieves said.

Police said dismissal times at schools are staggered, so there were some students out of school, while the majority of Schurz students were inside at the time of the shooting.

No one is in custody, and an investigation is ongoing. Police are looking for video in the neighborhood that may have captured the shooting.

Students and parents recounted those horrifying moments, as gunfire erupted.

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Mily Garcia was waiting outside the school to pick up her daughter when she saw someone open fire from a passing SUV at a group at La Michoacána ice cream shop, a popular hangout spot for students after school.

She said the school was locked down, and she was still waiting for her daughter to be released from classes at 3:30 p.m.

Students said the school was immediately placed on a soft lockdown. One student who was in class and heard gunfire said it appeared to be a drive-by shooting.

"So I was in class, and right behind me I heard about four or five gunshots, and a few of us kind of ducked down when we heard that," said Eric Estrada, a student. "A couple people were freaking out, and a couple others did cry. Not many people knew exactly what to do."

Estrada said he looked out a window and saw an injured person on the sidewalk and, shortly after that, another victim being taken to an ambulance in a wheelchair.

"As soon as he answered the phone, I had a sigh of relief, but I flew over here as fast as I could because I really got scared. My whole body was shaking," mother Theresa Estrada said.

Heightened patrols were expected when students began arriving at the school Thursday.

The CPS Crisis Team and Schurz staff will also be available to students needing additional support going forward.

"You just want your kids to be safe, you know? There's resources for them, counseling, things like that. I think that's very important," parent Danny Parker said.

Students were welcomed with a simple act of kindness, as the community rallies around a school trying to heal and move forward.

"As they got a donut and a flower, it felt like the atmosphere kind of changed for them," said Juan Herrera, with community organization Palenque LSNA.

Herrera said he hopes things change after the incident.

"We are hoping change happens, we're tired as parents, as community members, we're tired of the same rhetoric that comes to us," he said.

A man, who asked to remain anonymous, dropped his brother off at school Thursday morning.

"I was at work (Wednesday), and I heard there was a shooting, so I had to come by and pick him up earlier," he said. "I'm pretty surprised that they still have kids coming to school after what happened. But, what can you do?"

The man was critical of the school's response.

"They are only going to be here for one day, and the next day it's going to be like it never happened," he said.

Chicago Public Schools released a statement, saying, "Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is working closely with Chicago Police Department (CPD) as we respond to a shooting near one of our high schools, just prior to the school's dismissal bell. The school went on a lockdown while the CPD responded and that lockdown has since been lifted and students have been released. We will communicate any additional information with the school community. Our thoughts are with those individuals injured in this incident."

In 2019, a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed when a gunman standing on a corner near Schurz High School shot at his car. In 2006, three students were shot across the street from the school.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.