LINCOLN PARK — An anonymous threat of violence sent to some students at Lincoln Park High School in the wake of a shooting in Old Town prompted dozens of students to leave school early Wednesday and Chicago Police to ramp up patrol around the school during dismissal.
The Lincoln Park school is also prohibiting outside spectators who are not accompanied by an adult and a family member of the opposing team from attending any sporting events this week, including Thursday night's boys basketball game against Taft High School.
The scare also lead Newberry Math and Science Academy, an Old Town grade school, to direct students to go directly home after school and directed those who waiting for a ride to wait inside the building. The school's principal emailed parents Thursday afternoon stating, "There has been no immediate threat to our school, rather we have chosen to cooperate with the local high school in maintaining a safe environment for our children."
Students inside Lincoln Park High School said the threat was the "talk of the school," Wednesday.
"I wasn't really nervous about it, but when everyone started leaving, that's when I really started thinking about it," said Jordan Young, a Lincoln Park High School senior.
Young said at one point during the school day Wednesday, 18 fearful students were waiting in the school's main office to be picked up by their parents after hearing of the threat.
"Everyone is starting to calm now that it's blown over," he said Thursday.
Police continue to investigate the Old Town shooting Tuesday, which killed one man and left a second in serious-to-critical condition, and said they are looking into the possibility that gang ties may have played a role.
Lincoln Park High School Principal Michael Boraz sent an email to parents Wednesday informing them of the "precautionary measures" that include working with the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Public Schools Office of Safety and Security because the shooting took place "relatively close" to the school. Boraz stated that the shooting "appears to have been an isolated one."
There will continue to be an increased police presence and security at the school during dismissal for the remainder of the week, Boraz said in the email.
"We are confident that these precautions will ensure the safety of our school community," the letter from Boraz stated.
Students said Boraz mentioned the threats during morning announcements Wednesday and said it was a rumor.
A parent of a Lincoln Park student said her son told her the shooting was "the talk of the school" Wednesday.
Boraz did not respond to requests for comment. District officials also couldn't be reached.
Police said 31-year-old Tyshawn Blanton was on the way to buy diapers from a corner store for his newborn son when he was shot several times about 6:15 p.m. Blanton was pronounced dead at an area hospital shortly after the shooting, but a 20-year-old man who was with him who was shot once in the back of the head survived.
The 20-year-old man was hospitalized in serious-to-critical condition at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital Tuesday, according to a Chicago Fire Department spokesman. No update on his condition was available Thursday.
Tonya McKinney, a lifelong friend of Blanton, said neither he nor the 20-year-old victim had ever been in a gang, and said she was angered when she heard media reports that it was a gang-related shooting.