Two teens were dead while two others were injured following a mass shootout which took place outside the Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen, Chicago, on Friday afternoon. The authorities have not disclosed the motive of the shooting.
Shooting Happened During Students' Dispersal
The shooter opened fire outside the school located in the 2100-block of Laflin Street in the Pilsen neighborhood at around 2.30 pm as the students were being let out of the school. The victims included a girl and three boys. The victims were immediately rushed to Stroger Hospital when two boys succumbed to the fatal gun shots.
Following the shooting, the school went under lockdown. Speaking to Fox News, a sophomore named Nava said that he had been waiting in front of the school for his father to pick him up when he heard shots down the block. "It was crazy. I heard two shots and then everyone started running and went inside," said the teen student.
Senator Dick Durban tweeted about the incident. Offering his condolences, Durban wrote, "Progress was made in Congress this year. But w/ gun violence now the leading cause of death for America's children, we must do more."
Students Mistook Gunshots for Fireworks
Speaking to Block Club Chicago , Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), whose ward includes the school, said that at first students mistook the gunshots for fireworks. "It's tragic, it's a tragedy. School is supposed to be a safe haven for students and families. It's a pity there's no safe haven anywhere," Sigcho-Lopez said.
"We've got to understand we're failing our young people, failing them every day. ... We have to come together to talk about the root causes of all this, and what can be done immediately to make sure that every child is safe and in the city of Chicago. We've got to do everything we can and it just seems that there hasn't been any changes despite of efforts in the community," the alderman added.
In a statement, CPS said that the safety of the school community is their top priority. "This afternoon, we received reports that shots had been fired outside of Benito Juarez High School shortly after dismissal. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) and paramedics responded quickly to the scene. CPS remains in close contact with CPD and this incident is under investigation. The CPS Office of Safety and Security and other District leadership are working closely with school leadership and staff as well as CPD to gather information and respond to this incident. CPS will keep Benito Juarez families updated as well as the greater community. Our thoughts are with all those impacted by this tragedy," the statement read.