Two of four students shot outside Benito Juarez Community Academy high school on the city’s Southwest Side Friday afternoon have died, according to officials.
Brandon Perez, 15, and another unidentified person have died, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Further details about them was not immediately available.
The shooting happened outside the school, 2150 S. Laflin St., on school property shortly after dismissal, according to Larry Langford, a Chicago Fire Department spokesperson and school officials.
All four victims were students, though it’s not clear from which school, according to Langford, who said they were all about 16, including the boys who died.
Chicago police Superintendent David Brown, who attended an early evening press conference at the 12th District police station, would not confirm those shot were students.
One of the boys who passed away was dead on the scene, while the other one was initially in critically condition after suffering “traumatic arrest,” according to Langford.
A girl was shot in the shoulder or leg and another boy had gunshot injuries that were not thought to be life threatening, Langford added.
They all were taken to Stroger Hospital.
One Juarez student who ducked into a gas station across the street to escape the cold, stood alone with tears in his eyes. His friend had been shot, he said, and he knew one of the boys who died. ”I’m just thinking about her, hoping that she’s okay,” the sophomore said.
Chicago Police Department spokesperson Tom Ahern said at about 3:30 p.m. that the school announced an “all clear” after the shooting.
As of about 4:30 p.m., police officers placed small orange cones to mark evidence outside the school.
They focused on a courtyard underneath classrooms and between the schools main buildings, close by to an entrance and the street.
A security guard escorted a student away from the school and an administrator walked out of its parking lot as officers continued to search by flashlight.
A statement from the Chicago Public Schools began by saying that the safety of their school community is “our top priority.”
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“This afternoon, we received reports that shots had been fired outside of Benito Juarez High School shortly after dismissal,” the statement said. “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 said.
CPS Ceo Pedro Garcia was also on hand at the news conference. Garcia said in the coming days, grief counseling will be available at the school.
Friday evening, the school was been mostly deserted as police, who said they have no suspects, investigated.
Reactions poured in, including one from Congressman Chuy Garcia, who said in a tweet that his “heart breaks” for the victims.
Check back for details.
Chicago Tribune’s Paige Fry contributed.