Suburban high school forfeits football game after shooting near Chicago park

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CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago high school has forfeited a game it was to play against a school on the city's West Side because of safety concerns.

Wheaton's St. Francis High School was scheduled to play Chicago Hope Academy on Friday night.

However, St. Francis president Tom Bednar said a recent shooting, along with gunshots reported near Little League games at Altgeld Park over the summer, convinced the school to keep its team at home.

Hope's Sept. 29 game against Providence Catholic at Altgeld Park in the East Garfield Park neighborhood was interrupted by gunfire. A man was injured in the shooting.

In a statement on the St. Francis website, Bednar released this statement:

"The safety of ALL players, coaches, students and fans is our primary concern. Regrettably, the combination of shots being fired near last Friday's game at the same field and the lack of other venues led us to believe that the safest option for all would be to not play this Friday night at Hope Field Altgeld Park and forfeit the game."

Hope Academy founder Bob Muzikowski says that was the first violent episode in 13 years of Hope football.

He said security would have been robust at Friday's game.

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