A shooting near a high school on Chicago’s Lower West Side left two teens dead and two others injured Friday afternoon, police said.
In a news conference, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said that a suspect has not yet been identified for the shooting outside Benito Juarez High School in the Pilsen neighborhood. However, Brown said investigators believe the shooting was “a potential gang conflict.” He said an “aggressive” investigation is underway.
The two injured victims were in serious condition, Brown said. While he declined to provide further information about the victims at the press conference, the department later revealed that all four victims were age 15 and under.
The two who were killed were boys, ages 14 and 15 years old. Both were struck in the head and pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital in Cook County. Another boy, 15, was struck in the thigh and shoulder, and a girl, 15, sustained a graze wound to the thigh.
A volunteer crossing guard told CBS Chicago that students had just been dismissed when he heard six to eight gunshots at around 2:30 p.m. local time. The crossing guard said that the school’s principal yelled for students to go back inside.
The high school was placed on lockdown for about an hour, with students sent home at around 3:30 p.m.
“Any crime anywhere in the city is obviously a concern to us, but especially, when they’re near or around schools. Many of our officers are parents, are uncles, are aunts, of young people,” Brown said. “We are always as police officers extremely concerned of the impact that violence might have on school-aged students.”
Brown said that the investigation will involve speaking to survivors of the shooting, along with examining surveillance footage which may have captured the shooting. Pedro Martinez, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, said in the news conference that the school is cooperating fully with the investigation, and providing support to students.
“All of us are trying to find answers,” Martinez said. “I’m very concerned that this happened on our grounds.”