A South Side high school cafeteria became a triage center Monday after a possibly gang-related shooting occurred near the school—prompting panicked students to help two of their three wounded classmates back to the safety of the building, the academy’s principal said.
A heavy police presence and numerous ambulances were at the scene around 4:30 p.m. near 91st Street and Langley Avenue, near Chatham Academy High School, in the Burnside neighborhood. Two persons of interest were being questioned by police.
A fire official said a shooter got out of a car and fired "many, many, many" shots at the students.
Tony Qadir Lyons, the school's principal, told reporters that gunmen may appeared from an alley by the school and began shooting into a crowd of students after they left the building.
"Our students were walking home on the next block when a couple of individuals came out of an alley shooting at a crowd of our students," he said. "Two students made it back to the school, to the cafeteria, looking for assistance and support."
He said students are taught to return to their school if they have "an issue" to seek safe haven.
The third student who was shot stayed in the alley until an ambulance picked him up, Lyons said.
Two victims, a 17 boy and an 18-year-old man, were taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, according to Chicago Fire Media Affairs. The 16-year-old's condition was unknown, officials said, and the 18-year-old's condition had stabalized.
A 16-year-old boy was taken to Comer Children Hospital's where his condition had stabalized.
"They were bleeding profusely," Lyons said, adding that staff jumped into action to tend to the wounded students. "We train religiously for situations like this."
Their conditions were not immediately known.
Lyons said the students were new to the school and he didn't know them since the school year had just begun only days before.
He said there has never been a shooting like this one near the school, but the staff was prepared to respond to the needs of the injured students until they were taken to the hospital.
"We're trained on things like this," Lyons said.