Friday, October 7, 2022

A teen boy was fatally shot Friday afternoon near Kenwood High School on the South Side.

A teenage boy described as a Kenwood Academy High School “community member” who was fatally shot on the South Side Friday afternoon has been identified, officials said Saturday.

Kanye Perkins, 17, was pronounced dead at 12:18 pm Friday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy for Perkins, of the 1600 block of East 50th Street, is scheduled.

The shooting was at least the fourth this year near a CPS school.

Minutes after noon, paramedics were called to 5035 S. East End Ave. for a call that a teenage boy had been shot multiple times, said CFD spokesperson Larry Merritt.

“He was DOA,” Merritt said, adding the teen was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center.

According to Chicago police spokesperson Officer Michelle Tannehill, Perkins was shot in the head while standing outside. “An unknown offender approached and began firing rounds at the victim,” Tannehill said in an emailed statement.

Merritt earlier said the victim was 15.

The assailant fled in a possibly dark-colored vehicle, but no one has been arrested, according to Tannehill.

Kenwood Academy, 5015 S Blackstone Ave., is just a few blocks from the East End Avenue address.

At about 1:25 pm, Kenwood’s principal, Karen Calloway, sent a note to parents of students that said a “member of our school community” was involved and the school was placed on lockdown.

“This afternoon, we received reports that shots had been fired near our school and that a member of our school community had been injured,” the note said. “The Chicago Police Department and paramedics responded to the scene quickly to provide support. During the police response, we kept students indoors as a safety precaution.”

“Today we chose to do a “soft” lockdown and canceled off-campus lunch. We ordered pizza for students who need lunch, and instruction is taking place as usual,” the note said.

“Please know that we are taking this situation extremely seriously, and we have requested additional safety support for our school.”

“Our thoughts are with the family of our school community member,” said the note.

Another note to parents from Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Sports Administration said all after school activities, athletic and non-athletic, were canceled Friday.

A football game between Kenwood and Taft High School scheduled for Friday night at Taft was postponed to Saturday at 4 pm at Taft, the email said.

The email included a statement from David Rosengard, Executive Director of Sports Administration for Chicago Public Schools.

“We are saddened to learn of the tragic situation that occurred near Kenwood High School this afternoon,” Rosengard said in the email. “We are in constant communication with the Kenwood Administration, the CPS Office of School Safety and Security, and the Chicago Police Department to ensure the safety of our community members in the area.”

“Our thoughts are with the Kenwood and Hyde Park community at this time.”

Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates also commented on the attack.

”Mothers don’t send our children to school to be murdered,” Gates said in a statement. “Mayor Lightfoot and every single decision maker in this city owe us more. We demand more. Our children deserve more — more social emotional supports, more love and more accountability from adults.”

”The mayor spent the last two years declaring our school communities safe, yet here we are again, about to bury another child, and offer condolences to another family and another school community. This is at least the fourth shooting near one of our schools since classes began, and it’s only the third week of the year,” Gates said in the statement. “And this strategy of offering condolences and no transparent support is failing — and killing — our children. It hurts, and our entire city deserves better.”

Near the scene of the shooting, north of Hyde Park Boulevard, police vehicles diverted traffic away from 50th Place and East End.

As of 3 pm the school campus appeared quiet, with only a few people walking out and leaving the school by car.

At 3:35 pm, four Chicago police SUVs, one with its blue lights flashing, were parked in front of the school’s main entrance. At least one officer stood outside an SUV.

An additional four officers stood outside the school at the corner of Hyde Park Boulevard and Blackstone Avenue next to two parked unmarked police cars. A few minutes later, a woman and a group of apparent students walked briskly away from the school.

A statement released Friday afternoon from the Chicago Public Schools extended condolences.

“All of us at Chicago Public Schools are saddened to learn of the loss of another young life and we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and community members impacted by this tragedy.”

Kristen Lowery, 41, was home early Friday afternoon when she heard gunshots nearby, she told a Tribune reporter about 4:30 pm outside near the school.

Concerned after hearing a teenage boy had been fatally shot, she decided to meet her 17-year-old son, a student at Kenwood.

Lowery said she never meets her son at school because they live in apartments about a block east of campus.

As Lowery waited outside the gate, large crowds of students walked out of the school and dispersed in smaller groups across the street.

Then her phone rank.

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“Where are you?” Lowery said, the worry in her voice calming when she heard her son’s voice and learned he was outside their home, which is just south of where the attack happened.

“As a mother of a Black boy I’m afraid,” she said, adding that while shootings don’t often happen in their neighborhood, when they do it only reinforces her fears.

Lowery’s had a lot of difficult conversations with her son, who did not know the boy killed, and her two older daughters about race and violence, among other things.

“It’s difficult for parents to have but think about the kids,” she said. “It’s difficult for them to hear and to process such adult themes. … They should be focused on being children.”

“We need love in this city… people are in pain.”

scasanova@chicagotribune.com

tswartz@tribpub.com

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