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Bronzeville, Near South Side

Gunman Waited Outside Wendell Phillips Academy Before Shooting 14-Year-Old Student, Security Guard As Class Let Out, Police Say

A 14-year-old girl and a 45-year-old security guard were rushed to the hospital in serious condition.

Police investigate a shooting outside Wendell Phillips Career Academy in Bronzeville Oct 12, 2021.
Jamie Nesbitt Golden/Block Club Chicago
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BRONZEVILLE — A 14-year-old student and a security guard were shot and seriously wounded Tuesday outside Wendell Phillips Academy High School as classes were letting out for the day, authorities said.

The shooting happened around 3:21 p.m. in the 3800 block of South Giles Avenue, on the east side of the school, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said.

According to preliminary information, the security guard was opening the door for students as school was being dismissed, and a shooter who was standing a few feet outside the door fired several times in the direction of the building, Deenihan said.

“The door opens and the guy immediately starts shooting,” Deenihan said. “We’re trying to figure out if he’s trying to target someone or why he starts shooting at that time.”

The 45-year-old guard was shot “multiple times,” Deenihan said. Bullets also tore through a window and the closed part of the double door, hitting the 14-year-old girl, Deenihan said.

Paramedics took the teen to Comer Children’s Hospital and the security guard to University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford said. The guard is in fair condition and the girl is in critical condition, Deenihan said.

The girl was alert and speaking before undergoing surgery Tuesday night, her grandmother Johneece Cobb told the Sun-Times.

The shooter ran away on foot and may have gotten into a car, Deenihan said, but police do not have descriptions of the shooter or a car. No arrests have been made. Deenihan said detectives do not know if anything happened at or outside the school that led up to the shooting.

“Did something precipitate this? We don’t know that at this time,” Deenihan said.

Nursing student Isaiah Hodges was visiting his grandmother nearby and hurried across the street to the school to give the security guard first aid.

“The security officer was laying on his back, yelling and in pain. I saw three gunshot wounds and one exit wound,” Hodges said. “He was responsive when he was put in the ambulance.”

After he began tending to the guard, Hodges heard the girl’s mother yelling for help and realized she had been shot, as well.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), whose ward includes the school, hurried to the area after hearing of the shooting.

“This is a tragic event that has happened in our community,” Dowell told reporters.

Bronzeville resident Lavela Taylor also came to the scene to check on her grandchildren, who attend the elementary school just behind Phillips and usually walk home from their after school programs in the late afternoon.

“I’m frightened for my grandkids,” Taylor said. “I’m scared that something gonna happen to my grandkids, they’re can’t even come outside and play. They shooting around here all the time.”

Pastor Chris Harris, founder of Bright Star Community Outreach, also came to the scene of the shooting and said his organization will offer counseling services to student and staff. Asked how often his team fields situations like these, he said: “All the time.”

“Our students face all types of trauma,” Harris said.

Credit: Jamie Nesbitt Golden/Block Club Chicago
Police investigate a shooting outside Wendell Phillips Career Academy in Bronzeville Oct 12, 2021.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

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