Friday, May 11, 2007

bad things can happen anywhere

Five high school students were shot yesterday afternoon on a a CTA bus on the South Side. One of them passed away. I took that bus everyday to and from the Red Line and work. I could have been on that bus (I usually wasn't on it till later, but still). Scary and sad all around. I didn't feel like I was ever in danger on that bus, but bad things can happen anywhere.

CTA shooting kills teen
Gunman opened fire on Roseland bus, injuring 4 other Julian High School students

By Angela Rozas and Emma Graves Fitzsimmons, Tribune staff reporters
Tribune staff reporter Dan P. Blake contributed to this report

May 11, 2007

A young man who boarded a CTA bus in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood opened fire Thursday afternoon, killing one student and injuring four others, officials said.

The man got on an eastbound 103rd Street bus at Halsted Street and pulled a gun as the bus neared Lowe Avenue about 3:15 p.m., police said. He opened fire, wounding three girls and two boys, between the ages of 16 and 18, who were students at nearby Julian High School. The bus driver pulled over, and the gunman got off the bus and ran southbound, police said. Three of the wounded students were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where one boy, Blair Holt, who had been shot in the chest, died Thursday night, hospital officials said. Two girls were in fair condition.

Holt's mother, Annette Holt, is a Chicago Fire Department captain, said department spokeswoman Eve Rodriguez. Another student who was shot on the bus is the daughter of a Chicago firefighter, she said.

One student was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park and another to Roseland Community Hospital, a Chicago Fire Department spokeswoman said. Their injuries were not believed to be life threatening, police said.

Police said they did not believe it was a random shooting and were reviewing footage from a camera inside the bus.

"We have very good information, and we're confident we'll be able to identify him," Assistant Deputy Police Supt. Eugene Williams said Thursday evening.

Police said officers would fan out across the South Side neighborhood on Friday, and school officials planned to have additional security and counseling staff at Julian.

A man heading home from work said he was driving near 103rd and Lowe as the passengers fled the bus.

"I saw a bunch of kids leaving the bus ... they looked scared," said Oscar Hamon. "Everyone jumped off the bus running scared and crying. I knew something was wrong."

CTA officials were working with police in the investigation, including providing the camera footage. Each bus has at least four cameras on board, said CTA spokeswoman Sheila Gregory.

"The security cameras have proven very helpful in the past when we've investigated incidents," she said.

News of the shooting spread during a student fashion show Thursday night at Julian, which is about a mile from the site of the shooting.

School Principal William Harris said he was receiving calls from parents, but would not comment because he did not have confirmed information about the shooting. He did emphasize that the shooting did not happen at the school.

Many Julian students take the 103rd Street bus home, said 18-year-old senior Marissa Brown.

"Everybody takes the bus home," she said. "They were just going home after school."

Brown, a friend of Holt's, said Holt was a popular student known for dressing well and making people smile. He enjoyed rap music.

"I couldn't believe it," Brown said of hearing that her childhood friend had died. "He was nice. He was fun. He just made everybody laugh."

Brown said she feared going to school on Friday because someone might retaliate.

Speculation swirled about the cause of the shooting. Some students said there was a fight at the school on Wednesday. Others lamented what they said was an ongoing gang feud in the school, while others said it was in the neighborhood.

Sophomore Dimico Galloway, 15, said one of the victims is a friend and he saw her shortly before her last class ended before 3 p.m. He said the high school was safe, and that fights can happen at any school.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

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