CHICAGO — As Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson rang the bell to mark the start of the school year, his first as mayor, he faces ongoing challenges regarding the safety of students, including outside the classroom.
On Monday, crisis counselors were present at two different CPS schools as the first day of class got underway after two CPS students were killed in separate shootings on the weekend ahead of the new school year.
Over the weekend, 40 people were shot in the city. Seven people were killed, including two CPS students who were ready to start the new year.
“He was 14. He just turned 14 in March,” said Athena Harshaw, the aunt of RayJohn Harshaw, who was killed over the weekend. “Everywhere he went. We was just a sweetheart.”
RayJohn was shot and killed just steps away from his home in the 8700 block of South Cregier Avenue while walking back from his godparent’s home in Calumet Heights Saturday evening.
Monday would have been the start of his freshman year at Hyde Park High School.
“His book bag is packed. So he was excited,” Harshaw said.
The 14-year-old boy had been staying with his aunt, who said a neighbor’s security camera caught a young man approaching her nephew before shooting him and walking away.
“I don’t think he was targeted,” Harshaw said. “Not gang-related or any that type of stuff. RayJohn didn’t do anything.”
Just hours before, two teens were shot during a party in Galewood Park in North Austin. A 16-year-old boy was injured and 17-year-old Ashuntice Wilburn was killed.
Wilburn was set to begin her senior year at Carl Schurz High School on Chicago’s Northwest Side.
“She didn’t even run the streets,” Patty Ringo, Wilburn’s grandmother said. “She’s in a park, trying to enjoy her life and it’s taken away.”
Chicago police are still investigating the deadly shootings.
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