No Arrests Made in Triple-Fatal Teen Shootings

Activists hold anti-violence vigil

The fatal shooting of three teenagers over the weekend prompted an anti-violence vigil on the South Side Sunday.

"Clergy Committed to Community," "Ceasefire" and "Mothers Opposed to Violence" are demanding a stop to the killings that have recently scared the Southeast Side.

A “person of interest” remains in custody in connection with a triple-murder of three teens Friday afternoon near East 87th Street and South Exchange Avenue.

A man considered a “person of interest” remained in custody Monday morning, but he hasn’t been charged in connection with the slayings, according to police.

Among the victims was Johnny Edwards, 13, who was pronounced dead Friday afternoon at University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital.  A Saturday autopsy determined Johnny died of a gunshot wound to the back and his death was ruled a homicide, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said.

Johnny was a sixth-grader at Arnold Mireles Academy at 9000 S. Exchange Ave. and would have turned 14 Monday. He had nine brothers and sisters and his family said he wasn’t involved in gangs but might have been hanging out with the “wrong crowd.”

His family also said he was a good child who loved math and science and helped other children with homework. He came home every day at the same time, the family said.

Raheem Washington, 15, and Kendrick Pitts, 17, were also victims of the shooting.

Pitts was adopted when he was 8 and was recently released from the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. 

Those close to him said he was good with his hands, helpful around the house and liked working on cars. Just a week ago, he told his father he wanted to find a job.

“He was helpful, a good kid with a good heart,” Juan Pitts said. “You never know when they leave your house what they are doing.”

Pitts and Washington both attended Bowen High School at 2710 E. 89th St.

“I don’t recall another time when we had three of our students killed in once incident,” said Andres Durbak, the Chicago schools’ safety and security chief. “This is really extreme.”

Police said Saturday they were looking for “persons of interest” in the murders, but it was not clear whether they were still seeking those people early Monday.

Police refused to elaborate on the number of people they are seeking.

Police Supt. Jody Weis said the teenagers were apparently attacked by several people, one who had an assault rifle.

One teenager was found at the corner, a second near East 87th Street and South Escanaba Avenue and a third a few doors away, witnesses said.

At least four shell casings were recovered from the area of the shooting. A nearby surveillance camera was being checked to see if it captured any footage that might help the police investigation.

A witness, who asked not to be named, said two young men ran past him eastbound on 87th Street near South Commercial Avenue and started shooting. One of the men had what appeared to be an automatic weapon. The witness said the area is plagued by gang violence.

The shootings happened less than a block from Immaculate Conception School at 8739 S. Exchange Ave. The school, for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, began dismissing students at 2:45 p.m.

A secretary at the school said they heard shots fired and called police. School officials kept students still on school grounds inside the building until police said it was safe to leave.

The deaths added to a school year that was already on track to be one of the most violent on record in Chicago. By mid-January, almost twice as many CPS students had been shot to death as the same period last year.

Calumet Area detectives are investigating.

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