Penn Elementary School, 1616 S. Avers, was put on lockdown Thursday afternoon after a man was shot outside the school. The man was taken to the hospital in serious-to-critical condition. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times
Updated: May 30, 2014 12:28AM
Inside the school, students and teachers heard the shots.
Just outside the building that houses Penn Elementary School and KIPP Ascend Academy Charter Elementary School, a man had been shot, authorities said.
The shooting, at 3 p.m. Thursday in the 1600 block of South Avers Avenue in the North Lawndale community, prompted the temporary lockdown of both schools, a Chicago Public Schools official said.
The man who was shot just across the street from the school building in an empty lot was 18, police said. Fire officials, who transported the man in serious-to-critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, said the man was 20.
A KIPP 7th grader said she was in class when shots rang out.
“I heard six shots and someone screaming,” the teenager said outside the school.
She said she and her classmates were ordered by a teacher to the back of the classroom.
Though teachers seemed worried, “they tried to stay calm for us,” the teen said.
But her friend, also a KIPP 7th grader, said “I was scared.”
Parents stood quietly outside the school, watching as students were dismissed. Police guarded the doors.
Some moms and dads waved at their children as they walked through the school doors, relieved to see their little ones.
One mom was crying, unable at first to find her son, as teachers tried to comfort her. A teacher, who did not give her name, walked the mother home to calm her down and make sure her son was found safe.
Kids and parents said a fight broke out before the shooting, but police on the scene could not confirm that.
Detectives were interviewing witnesses Thursday afternoon, Chicago police Ogden District Capt. Kevin Chambers said.
But some parents were concerned about the safety of the children after a shooting so close to the schools.
“I like the school, but I think they need more security in the neighborhood,” said Arely Paredes, 31, who was picking up her 11-year-old daughter from KIPP. “It’s very unsafe this neighborhood.”
One dad, picking up his daughter, soberly agreed.
“This is everyday,” he said as he walked away from the school building.
Contributing: Tina Sfondeles, Sun-Times Media Wire.