CHICAGO (CBS) — Police were searching for the shooter who killed a 17-year-old boy in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on Sunday, after firing an assault rifle in broad daylight as parishioners were leaving mass at a nearby church.
Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy said the victim was walking east in the 1700 block of West 46th Street around 1:30 p.m. when a light-colored Saturn sedan drove up, and someone inside started shooting. Police said the victim tried to run away, but was shot several times, and died instantly. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office has identified the young man as 17-year-old Salvador Suarez.
The shooting happened across the street from Holy Cross Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, and services were letting out when the shooting happened, but Roy said there was no indication the church or parishioners were targeted.
Roy said it appeared the shooter used a high-powered semi-automatic assault rifle.
Monday morning, police were closely monitoring all activity outside the parish and Seward Communications Arts Academy Elementary School across the street.
Sunday’s shooting was top of mind for parents at Seward as they brought their kids to school.
“I have a 7-year-old son. That’s my only son. Something happens to him? I don’t know. It’s scaring me,” Nazaria Santillanes said.
Santillanes said her son won’t return to Seward after the school year ends on Tuesday.
“Tomorrow’s the last day, and I will be transferring. I’d rather go on the bus, the train, take him to school, and at least that one has an after school program, but that’s a different point. Yeah, it’s scary around here, and I don’t want to be here. I’m hoping to move by the end of summer,” she said.
What was particularly nerve-wracking for parents was the fact students don’t stay inside the building all day. Seward also rents out a building across the street, so kids are walking back and forth throughout the day.
“It’s scary, because you don’t know if somebody’s going to come back and shoot,” parent Jazmin Ramires said.
Police monitored the start of the school day, but that wasn’t enough for parents who said gun violence is out of control in Back of the Yards.
“We were talking earlier with my family that maybe we were going to move, because we don’t want my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old growing up here,” Ramires said.
Seward’s 8th grade graduation was being held Monday, so police were standing guard throughout the day.
Police have said the shooting appears to be gang-related. No one was in custody Monday morning.