Rogers Park school cancels recess after nearby shooting

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On a beautiful 80-degree day, you won't see Gale Math and Science Academy students out at recess - that's because recess was suspended at the school following a shooting that occurred next door on Monday.

"Initially we heard the two gunshots at the corner of Jonquil and Ashland and I knew that my son and other children were out at recess, and I heard the teacher tell the kids to hurry inside," said Tammy Goulet, a parent.

Around 1 p.m. Monday, an offender shot a 22-year-old man in the back in the 7600-block of North Ashland, police said. Some third graders were playing in a field just south of the intersection for recess at the time.

Police say a second man, who may have been a target of the gunman, hid behind a boy and a girl to escape. The 9 and 10-year-olds then had to run closer to the crime scene in order to get inside their school.

Once inside, some children were crying during the lockdown, unsure of where the gunman was or what was happening.

"Because they were on lockdown they couldn't see or do anything and they heard a lot of scuffling around but they knew that was the police officers going through the hallways and stuff, they were very terrified," said Mary Crockett, a parent.

"We've got to start coming up with real solutions to help these guys transition from this lifestyle," said James Crockett, a parent.

A local school council member said the principal cancelled recess not only due to Monday's shooting but because of a recent escalation of violence in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

"So these kids are seeing police officers wash blood off of these sidewalks - the same sidewalks that they're walking on to and from school every day," said Kyle Hillman, Gale local school council.

Residents and parents tell us they are deeply troubled by violence that is making students unintended victims.

"Kids want to play outside so you guys shouldn't be shooting," a student said.

CPS says it will resume recess at Gale before the end of the school year. The school will meet with parents and residents to develop a security plan so that the students can have a 20-minute recess.

The shooting victim remains in critical condition.

Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.