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Father of 12-year-old boy wounded in Woodlawn park speaks out against gun violence

John Shorter, a lieutenant with the Chicago Fire Department, said his son is now able to get around, using a walker.

John Shorter, a lieutenant with the Chicago Fire Department, speaks to reporters at Mamie Till Mobley Park where his 12-year-old son was wounded in a shooting, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
John Shorter speaks to reporters at Mamie Till-Mobley Park Friday. His 12-year-old son was wounded in a shooting at that park last week.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The father of a boy shot last week at a park in Woodlawn gave an update on his son’s recovery Friday and condemned the recent spree of gun violence affecting young people.

John Shorter attended a prayer circle at Mamie Till-Mobley Park, 6404 S. Ellis Ave., where his son was shot in the leg last week while playing with relatives.

Shorter, a Chicago Fire Department lieutenant, said he appreciated the public’s support at a difficult time. His son remains in “good spirit” and is now getting around using a walker.

“I want to thank the Lord Jesus Christ that my son is still alive because this could’ve been tragedy and I could’ve been planning a funeral,” Shorter said.

“A kid should be able to go to the park without worrying about being shot. That was the last thing that was on my mind when he came out with his relatives,” he added. “We need to stop the violence.”

The Shorter family and neighborhood residents pray at Mamie Till-Mobley Park Friday night. A member of the family, a 12-year-old boy, was wounded in a shooting at the park on Aug. 14.
The Shorter family and neighborhood residents pray at Mamie Till-Mobley Park Friday night. A member of the family, a 12-year-old boy, was wounded in a shooting at the park on Aug. 14.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Last week the Chicago Police Department released video of suspects. The video shows multiple men appearing from a gangway and shooting a gun towardthe park where the boy was playing.

State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, called on residents to put the guns down and also implored city officials to invest in communities like Woodlawn to help drive down gun violence.

“This [park] was named after a woman who lost her 14-year-old Black son in 1955 and here we are today talking about a young man who could’ve lost his life,” Buckner said. “So what I am imploring the entire city of Chicago, all of my neighbors and my colleagues, is to figure it out.”

State Rep. Kambium Bucknerspeaks to reporters Friday at Mamie Till Mobley Park where the Shorter family’s 12-year-old son was wounded the week before.
State Rep. Kambium Buckner speaks to reporters at Mamie Till-Mobley Park Friday.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.