CHICAGO — A 16-year-old boy ran into a school building seeking help after being shot in the leg Thursday in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
The boy was wounded near the 4900 block of South Paulina Street about 9:05 a.m. and taken to Stroger Hospital in fair-to-serious condition, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
The Fire Department responded to a call of a teen injured near a school at 4946 S Paulina St., Langford said. The shooting did not happen inside the school, Langford said.
The boy appeared to have been injured somewhere outside the building, said officer John Mirabelli, a Chicago Police Department spokesman.
After being shot, he ran into school for help, Langford said.
The building houses the Sinclair Campus of the Peace and Education Coalition Alternative High School Program. According to its website, the program serves students ages 16 to 21 "who have been out of school, but wish to return and earn their Chicago Public Schools high school diploma."
A spokeswoman from Chicago Public Schools declined to comment on the incident. A man answering the door at the building and wearing a CPS ID only said that the building was open Thursday.
Officials at the Sinclair Campus declined to comment, but some students leaving the school Thursday afternoon said they knew the 16 year-old who was shot.
One girl, who declined to give her name, said the boy is a student at the school and is also in a local gang. She said she heard he was walking with two girls who were also students at the school when he was shot. She said one of the girls ran for help while the other helped carry the boy to the school.
Students and neighbors said the school has a reputation for having gangs. Another student, who also declined to give her name saying she didn't want to get involved, laughed when asked if this was the first shooting involving students.
"No," she said, adding she did not feel safe going to school. "But I don't know. You get used to it after a while I guess."
Bullet casing markers could be seen about a block away in the 4800 block of South Paulina Street Thursday morning.
Bruno Matja's front door was taped off by police after the shooting.
The 55-year-old said he was in bed around when he heard gunshots outside.
"I sometimes hear this, especially on the corner," he said. "But I never heard so many gun shots."
Matja said the shots were followed by the sound of a car speeding away.
"Maybe shooting and go," said the native of Poland, who has lived on the block for the last 25 years.
Matja said he didn't peek outside after the shooting.
"I stayed away," he said. "You never know, he can shoot you through the window."
Matja said there is gang activity in the area, and that strange men cross through his backyard, hop his fence and cut through his gangway.
"Sometimes I am afraid," he said.