Three teens charged in Warren Elementary School shooting
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Two teens and an 18-year-old man have been charged with shooting two girls Friday at an end-of-year school picnic in the South Side Calumet Heights neighborhood, police announced late Saturday afternoon.
Raekwon Hudson, 18, and two boys, ages 16 and 17, each face two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery discharge firearm, both felonies, according to Chicago Police.
They also face a misdemeanor county of criminal trespass to vehicles, police said. The vehicle they were arrested in was believed to be stolen.
The identities of the two boys were not released because they’re juveniles.
Officers responded at 1:51 p.m. Friday to a call of shots fired at Warren Elementary School, 9200 block of South Jeffery, police said. Students at the school were making water balloons at a picnic to celebrate the end of the school year.
Khia Shanks, an eighth-grader who graduated Thursday, said she ran inside out of shock when she heard the gunfire.
“The kids were running around the playground playing with water balloons,” 14-year-old Khia said. “I went outside and saw a black van drive by, and someone fired about five shots.”
Two of her schoolmates, ages 7 and 13, ended up being shot, police said.
Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt said the younger girl was shot in the right thigh, while the older girl was shot in the right hand. They were both taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, and their injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.
“This makes me sick that kids are having an end-of-the-year picnic, and they have to get shot at,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a press conference outside the school.
Several former Warren students who weren’t supposed to be at the picnic tried to get in but were rebuffed by security officers who recognized them, Johnson said.
Those former students, whose ages he wouldn’t give, stood on a nearby corner at 92nd and Chappel. “A black vehicle pulled up and began firing,” Johnson said. The youths then “ran back into the picnic, drawing fire into the picnic.
“They were the intended targets, not the kids,” Johnson said.
Police pulled over a black Jeep — now known to have been reported stolen — about 10 minutes after the shooting in the 8900 block of South Phillips, police said.
Stephaney Branch, Khia’s mother, said she felt “disbelief but not surprise” and was “seriously looking into home schooling” her daughter.
“I want my daughter to be around other children, but this makes me sad and angry,” Branch said.
The school has about 300 students in pre-K through 8th grade, but does not have a Safe Passage Program, according to the Chicago Public Schools website.
CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said officials will “review every detail” leading up to the shooting and talk to the students involved.
But Claypool added that, “Despite this incident, the schools are still the safest place that children can be. There has not been a shooting incident involving a student at a Chicago Public School in decades. This was a highly unusual situation.”
All in all, it was another difficult day in a city that has seen more than 1,230 non-fatal shootings and 288 homicides so far this year — roughly the same as last year, when Chicago saw its homicide total eclipse New York’s and Los Angeles’ combined.
“This should make everyone angry,” Johnson said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with the victims’ families at Comer Children’s Hospital, Claypool said.
“I’ve known the mayor for 30 years, and I have never seen him so angry,” Claypool said.
Contributing: Luke Wilusz