A 71-year-old Chicago man was shot dead in what appears to be a random shooting carried out in broad daylight in front of an elementary school.
“When I heard the gunshots, the teacher told us to get down quickly and go on lockdown,” an eighth grader from Haines Elementary recounted to CBS 2 of the shooting. “We all did.”
The man was on his way to pick up a newspaper from a local store in Chicago’s Chinatown when a car pulled up next to him at about 12:30 p.m., police said.
The suspect opened fire on the man from inside the car, then got out of the car and continued shooting the victim. The suspect then drove away, according to police.
The victim was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
Video on social media has also circulated appearing to show the shooting.
The principal at Haines Elementary told the school to shut off classroom lights during the shooting, according to the eighth grade witness.
“The principal told us to turn the lights off, close the blinds, don’t say anything,” she said. “Some of my friends, I know, they were panicking. Others were crying. Some were texting their parents.”
Another witness, Taylor Baird, said he was in his apartment with his wife and daughter when he heard what he thought was fireworks.
“They didn’t really stop. So I heard what I think was probably 10 or 11 shots and then probably two or three minutes later I heard sirens, and then I heard more sirens – and I came out and we are outside of a shooting, right outside my apartment,” Baird said.
A person of interest was taken in for questioning, according to authorities. The suspect is described as a male in his 20s who has a criminal record. The shooting appears to be random, CBS 2 reported.
A local church group also held a prayer vigil Tuesday evening, with participants standing in a circle where the man was shot while holding candles.
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“You just never expect it to happen to people that you know,” Chris Javier, a deacon at Chinese Christian Union Church, told CBS 2. He said the victim’s daughters are members of the church.
“For us, there’s a sense of shock,” he said. “There are people that we know, that are close to our church, who are related to the victim.”
Seven people have been shot in Chinatown so far this year, CBS 2 reported. Four people were shot during the same time period last year.
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Javier noted that the community began seeing a rise in anti-Asian crimes in late 2020, which has prompted a group to install security cameras on homes of elderly Asian Americans.
“There’s a lot of work to do, but it’s necessary, and tonight’s proof of why it’s necessary,” he said.
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The shooting follows a violent weekend in Chicago. A city bus driver was hospitalized following being beaten on the street Saturday, a 15-year-old was shot in the arm, dozens of young people flooded the Loop, fights broke out, police made 21 arrests of youths, and two police officers were injured.
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Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot said “swift action” will be taken and that parents need to take responsibility for their kids following the weekend chaos.
“These kids have to take responsibility, but I’m going to say the parents have to take responsibility,” she said. “Do you know where your kid is? Are you making sure that you’re talking to your children about how they should act in a large crowd?”