Shooting near St. Rita High School baseball game forces players to hit ground, take cover

CHICAGO (WLS) -- High school baseball players were forced to take cover during a game at St. Rita on the South Side Thursday.

A video posted to social media appeared to show a first baseman and a pitcher drop to the ground as about a dozen gunshots rang out. Others ran and some players even jumped into the dugout to take cover.

The shooting happened incredibly close to the Catholic high school at around 5:20 p.m. in the 7800-block of South Western Avenue, about 100 yards off school property.

At that moment, a baseball game between St. Rita High School and Marmion Academy was underway.

Chicago police said a 42-year-old woman was coming out of a McDonald's drive-thru when a dark-colored Jeep drove by and fired shots in her direction.

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Surveillance video shows a black Jeep cutting though a gas station parking lot at 79th and Western seconds before the shooting near St. Rita.

Surveillance video shows what witnesses said was that same Jeep cutting though a gas station parking lot at 79th and Western seconds before the shooting.

"I just heard gunshots, a vehicle passed by," said Gawab Ali Ahmed. "I was here working. All I see is gunshots and some people screaming."

The woman's car was damaged and five other parked cars were also hit, police said. No injuries were reported and no suspects were taken into custody.

Grandparent Sabrina Johnson said her grandson was getting air in his tire at a gas station across the street from St. Rita when the shots were fired.

"All of a sudden they saw this car pull up and they started shooting toward McDonald's, so they got to ducking and everything like that, so it was really terrifying," Johnson said. "We really thought this area was really safe, but it happens anywhere."

Too nervous still to show her face, one mother described her fear as she raced to pick up her son.

"The game was still going on and other parents were really nervous, shooken up. They all took cover and kind of told me what happened," she said. "Their safety is my main concern and I feel like, I wasn't here when the gunshots done, but I heard the aftermath and I feel like maybe the game should have been stopped."

Meanwhile, St. Rita High School officials said everyone is OK and released a statement saying, "Yesterday's incident in our neighborhood was disturbing and a sad reminder that violence can occur anywhere at any time. We thank our security staff and law enforcement for their quick response. We remain fully committed to the safety of our students, faculty, staff, parents, and guests."

Now police are looking at the gas station surveillance video as part of their investigation into the afternoon drive-by shooting that erupted within sight of high school athletics.
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