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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Father Of Slain 15-Year-Old Shares Heartbreaking Message To Chicago: ‘How Did Our City Get Here?’

Caleb Westbrooks, 15, was shot Tuesday a few blocks north of Rauner College Prep, where he was a freshman. His dad said the young football player was walking to catch a bus home from school when someone opened fire.

A memorial for Caleb Westbrooks (left) at Chicago and Greenview avenues in West Town, near where he was killed on Jan. 18.
Provided/Quinn Myers at Block Club Chicago
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WEST TOWN — The father of a teenager shot and killed in West Town Tuesday is condemning the “disintegration” of the criminal justice system in Chicago in the wake of his son’s death.

Caleb Westbrooks, 15, was shot shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday in the 800 block of North Greenview Avenue, a few blocks north of Rauner College Prep, where he was a freshman.

In the statement released Thursday, Corneal Westbrooks honored his son, a football player who was known for his positive attitude, and thanked the teen’s friends and first responders who cared for him immediately after he was shot.

“Our world is shattered,” he wrote. “Caleb was a smart, vivacious and athletic teenager who was looking forward to a bright future with goals and dreams that now will go unfulfilled.”

The shooting took place in broad daylight as Caleb Westbrooks was walking to catch a bus home from school, he said.

“Caleb was one of five teens shot in Chicago Tuesday. Five!” his father wrote. “Caleb also was the second student to be shot and killed walking home from school in less than a week. How did our city get here? Have Chicagoans become desensitized to the violence that permeates virtually every corner of our city?”

The grieving father also slammed city and county leaders for failing to prevent his son’s death.

“Unfortunately, this senseless violence is likely to continue unabated until the elected and appointed leadership of the city and county stop pointing fingers at one another and take personal responsibility for the role they have played in the disintegration of the criminal justice system as well as the lack of critical mental health services in Chicago and Cook County.”

Westbrooks asked for privacy for his family as they “mourn the loss of our irreplaceable Caleb.”

Credit: Provided
Caleb Westbrooks

In a statement released Wednesday, Rauner College Prep principal Brendan Bedell called Caleb Westbrooks “the student that knew everyone.”

“He made it his practice to pop into classrooms after school to introduce himself to students or teachers he hadn’t yet met. That was the kind of person Caleb was, always looking to meet and connect with everyone. He brought light and laughter to those around him through his humor and positive energy,” the statement said.

“He touched so many lives in his time at our school.”

Police said Thursday the slaying was under investigation and had no further information.

They encouraged anyone with information about the shooting to contact the gun trafficking and homicide tip line at 833-408-0069 or 312-746-7330.

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