Friday, May 11, 2007

CTA Shooting - One Student Killed, Four Hurt

By Angela Rozas and Emma Graves Fitzsimmons
Tribune staff reporters

May 10, 2007, 10:28 PM CDT

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.

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 sophomore Marissa Brown.

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

Speculation swirled about the cause of the shooting among students and neighborhood residents. 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 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.

Mary Hayes received a call Thursday afternoon from her cousin, who was seated on the bus next to one of the victims. Her cousin, a freshman at Julian, said her friend had been shot, and Hayes said she heard screaming and chaos in the background. She went to the scene, looking for her cousin.

There are ongoing feuds at the high school and general violence in the neighborhood, she said.

"It's just really sad," said Hayes, 20. "You can't even come home from school. Every day it's really upsetting. There is just so much violence."
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune