Chicago School Warns Parents of ‘Increase of Gang Activity'

A Chicago school warned parents and students Tuesday of a potential increase in gang violence on the city’s South Side following the deaths of two young people, including 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee.

Augustus Toltan Academy, located roughly 4 miles from where Tyshawn was gunned down in a targeted shooting earlier this month, sent an alert to parents warning of “an increase of gang activity in response to the recently reported gang deaths of the two young people.”

The school’s principal said in the alert the activity was expected to take place on or near 79th Street between Damen and Cottage and near 76th Street between Seeley and Ashland avenues.

“I just wanted to make sure parents are aware, families are aware, staff is aware of what’s happening in this city,” said Principal Pamela Edwards-Sherley.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police have no intelligence of an imminent threat or gang attack in the area and have not issued an alert. 

Officials have stressed that Tyshawn’s murdered was a “targeted incident,” but does appear to be gang-related. Guglielmi acknowledged social media chatter about the Tyshawn Lee case and the potential for retaliation but said police have heavy saturation in the area. 

“It could be any of the children,” said concerned grandparent Silvia Helm. “My granddaughter is in fourth grade, the same age that [Tyshawn] was in.”

St. Sabina Church said it was also alerted to reports of an increase in violence in the area after it said Comcast representatives rescheduled an appointment to fix computers at their employment center, citing information from police of a potential for violence.

“We’re becoming the poster boy across the country for violence,” said Father Michael Pfleger.

A Comcast spokesperson said in a statement that the company “received information from the police that there was a potential for violence in the area [Wednesday] and to insure the health and safety of employees we decided to reschedule the appointments.”

“We serve this area and all of Chicago every day,” the statement read. “We do hundreds of thousands of visits to homes and businesses every year and we are committed to serving this area and the rest of the city as we have for many years.”

A technician went to the church around 4 p.m. and fixed the computer problems.  

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