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2 high school seniors, bound for Division I basketball, wounded in drive-by shooting

TY Johnson, a DePaul Prep star and Loyola recruit, and TaKiya “TK” Howard, a De La Salle Institute student who’s expected to play at Murray State University in Kentucky next season, were injured in the South Side shooting.

TaKiya Howard (left) and Ty Johnson (right)
TaKiya Howard (left) and Ty Johnson (right)
De La Salle Meteors Girls Basketball Twitter page (left) and Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times (right)

Two high school seniors, both bound for Division I college basketball, were wounded in a drive-by shooting Monday night in Englewood.

TY Johnson, a DePaul Prep star and Loyola University recruit, and TaKiya “TK” Howard, a De La Salle Institute student expected to play at Murray State University in Kentucky next season, were shot outside Johnson’s South Side home, according to school officials and family.

Howard, 18, and a friend had been heading to get ice cream when they stopped at Johnson’s place in the 7000 block of South Throop Street, Howard’s mother Kimberly Howard said.

Johnson, 17, was talking to the women through the window of their car as they sat outside his apartment when shots were fired from a passing car, the mother and Chicago police said.

Officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert just before midnight and found the two, police said. They were unable to provide a description of the vehicle. A source said at least 19 rounds were fired.

Johnson was grazed in the back of his head and brought by ambulance to the University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition, police said. Johnson is now resting at home and is said to be OK, according to a source.

Howard was struck once in the ear and taken to St. Bernard Hospital by her friend, said her mother, who met them there a short time later.

“I was able to see her and I was able to kiss her,” Kimberly Howard said. “She looked up to me, she was responsive, she was coherent, and that’s a good thing.”

Howard said the bullet is lodged in her daughter’s neck near her carotid artery. TK Howard was later transported to Stroger Hospital, where she was undergoing a procedure Tuesday afternoon, her mother said.

“TK, she’s fighting. She’s young, she’s fighting. And she was trying to assure me, ‘Everything’s OK, I’m OK.’ It’s draining, it’s just draining, that’s all,” Kimberly Howard said.

Howard was expecting an update on her daughter later in the day. “Right now, I’m just waiting,” she said. “I’m gonna stay here until I take my baby home.”

Area 1 detectives were investigating the shooting, and no one was reported in custody.

Both Johnson and Howard were standout players at their respective schools and preparing to take the next jump in their careers.

Johnson, a 6-foot-3 guard, has signed with Loyola and is expected to play for the Ramblers next season.

“Our primary concern is that Ty has a full and quick recovery,” the university said in a statement.

Johnson, whom former Loyola coach Porter Moser praised for his “great length and ability to change speeds” shortly after he committed to the program, is a two-time Sun-Times All-Area player and was this past season’s breakout star. He led the Rams to the Chipotle Clash of Champions tournament title and the No. 1 ranking in the area while averaging 20.2 points.

Howard is a 5-foot-10 guard who was selected to the All-Girls Catholic Athletic Conference White Division team in all four years at the De La Salle Institute. She committed to playing at Murray State University for the 2021-2022 season, the school announced in November.

“TaKiya will bring athleticism, a scorer’s mentality and toughness to our team. We are excited to add her to our Racer family,” Coach Rechelle Turner said at the time.

Murray State Women’s Basketball officials declined or did not respond to several requests for comment Tuesday.

In March, Howard claimed the record for the all-time scoring leader in De La Salle girls basketball history, according to the Beverly Review, with 1,198 points.

Barry Bradford, founder of Example Sports who coached Howard and her friend, Bradford said he learned of the shooting around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

“Obviously, everybody’s been traumatized by the incident because you just continue to think about worst case scenarios,” he said.

Bradford said both girls are phenomenal players, honor-roll students and National Honor Society members.

“Hate that those kids at that age have to make those types of decisions,” Bradford said. “... It was probably just inches away from [being] a deadly story, you know, of not only three athletes, three high-academic, high-character kids, who [are trying to] hang out and talk a little bit before they head off to college, trying to have some sense of normalcy during what’s been a crazy last year and a half or so. It’s just unnerving. Just really, really sad to think about.”

Contributing: Sun-Times Wire