BRONZEVILLE — Dozens gathered Saturday morning for an anti-violence rally and prayer vigil after two teenagers were shot, one fatally, near a park named for slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton in Bronzeville on Friday afternoon.
The victims, 17-year-old Vonzell Banks and a 19-year-old man, were playing basketball in the 4300 block of South King Drive when a male approached about 4:45 p.m. and asked if he could join, according to police sources. Moments later, a car pulled up and someone inside opened fire.
Banks, of the 4500 block of South Prairie Avenue, was shot in his chest and back and taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, he was pronounced dead there at 5:31 p.m.
The 19-year-old man was shot in his right foot and treated at the University of Chicago Medical Center, authorities said.
According to police sources, the third male, who was not injured, was the intended target of the attack.
Bishop Hayden said he was playing basketball on the court when the shooting happened. He said Banks, who he had just met, was about to win the game when the shooter approached.
"We heard a gun shot, and we turned our heads, and there was just a guy less than 50 yards up close to us, and he was just shooting at us," Hayden said. He added that he hopped the fence and ran off as he heard someone saying, "He hit, he hit."
On Saturday morning, about 60-70 relatives, friends, pastors and neighbors gathered near the park for a prayer vigil.
"Men cannot be invisible," said Michael Neal, pastor of Glorious Light Church Bronzeville. "It is time for us to come from our comfort zones, get off your couches, get out of your cars, start walking in your community, start sitting in places, interacting with young people and letting them know there is a man on this block."
"I've been to a lot of these events where we're praying for people and praying for families," Pastor Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church Chicago said. "In all these events, I've never seen this many pastors and this many activists in one place and one time... Even in the midst of so much decay and violence, God is up to something."
He added that churches need to work together to bring healing to the community.
The P.A.T.S. (Prayer Around the Schools) program, intiated by Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Church of God in Christ, distributed flyers asking for more community involvement, better student grades and attendance and more engagement from public officials.
Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said, "I still feel committed to turn this area into a bigger park, because I believe in the end, we have to take back our own community." She urged community members to "occupy the space" in the community, to deter "bad people" from committing crimes.
No one was in custody for the shooting.
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