A teenage boy was on his way to school Wednesday morning when he was critically wounded in a South Chicago shooting on the South Side.
The 15-year-old was walking through a residential neighborhood at 8:34 p.m. when he was shot multiple times in the 9000 block of South Brandon Avenue, according to Chicago police. He was taken in critical condition to Comer Children’s Hospital, police said.
The shooting happened about four blocks away from the Safe Passage route for Bowen High School, though the boy was a student at a high school in a different neighborhood, a family friend said.
A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman cited privacy reasons in saying she could not comment on whether the student attended a district school.
Several residents on the block said they were asleep when they heard a series of gunshots then went outside to find the boy face down on the sidewalk.
One of the neighbors, Eleanor Rodriguez, said she found the boy on the ground just a few feet away from her house.
“He was down with his face towards me, and he says, ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ And what could I do? I couldn’t do nothing,” Rodriguez said as she held back tears. “He was a kid, a little boy going to school. It was sad.”
Another resident on the block, Martha Delreal, said the boy appeared to be wearing a school uniform.
Delreal, 50, said two shooters ran through a gangway a couple houses down from hers and went east to Burley Avenue, where they got into a car and drove off. Chicago police said they have no information on possible suspects.
“You could hear the gunshots very well because they were so close,” Delreal said. “I walked over there and he was on the ground facing down.”
“We stayed down for a little bit because we didn’t know what was going on outside,” said Ashley Porras, Delreal’s daughter. “Then I walked out a little bit and came back, I didn’t want to see anything.”
Police initially said the boy was on his way to school when he was shot, but officers during a press briefing later said they could not confirm that report and referred questions to CPS. Police said more than 15 shots were fired. There are no police cameras on the block.
“This one hits personally hard,” CPD Capt. Terrence McMahon told reporters at a news conference near the scene. “Any time a juvenile is shot on our streets, it hits us at home.”