Police Search for 3 in SE Side Killings

UPDATE: Shooting blocks away from elementary school

Chicago police are looking for three "persons of interest" to talk to following Friday afternoon's shooting death of three teens on the Southeast Side.

"A lot of it had to do with the community stepping forward," said Asst. Police Supt. James Jackson told the Chicago Tribune, calling the shootings "horrific." Detectives also are looking at video surveillance cameras from the site of the shooting, he said.

 The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the three as 13-year-old Johnny Edwards, 17-year-old Kendrick Pitts and 15-year-old Raheem Washington.

Edwards, was remembered by family and neighbors as a helpful boy who played in after-school sports programs and loved math and science.

"He was humble," his uncle John Johnson said. "He showed respect. He helped his brothers, his sisters and cousins with their homework. He liked to help people."

Johnny was a seventh grader at Arnold Mireles Academy and died three days shy of his 14th birthday.

Pitts and Washington attended Bowen High School, school officials said.

The shootings, in an alley off East 87th Street, between South Exchange and South Escanaba avenues, is near the intersection where a 10-year-old girl was shot and killed last September. 

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said Friday it appeared several individuals attacked the teens, and shell casings found at the scene indicated that at least one assault rifle was used in the attack.

"It's just tragic, based on the guns that are on the streets, that three young men have lost their lives today," Weis said during a Friday afternoon press conference. 
Officials hope at least two surveillance video cameras near the crime scene will lead to clues, said Chicago Police Commander Eddie Welch, who added investigators are looking at "multiple scenes."

"We're bringing out every resource we have, and we'll work this case as hard as we can," Weis said.

A witness, who asked not to be named, said two young men ran past him headed east on 87th near Commercial and started shooting. One of the men had what appeared to be an automatic weapon. The witness saw two of the teens being shot. The shooters then ran north through an alley.

The witness said the area is plagued by gang violence.

The shootings occurred less than a block from Immaculate Conception School at 8739 South Exchange.

A secretary from the school said they heard gunshots and called police. School officials kept the students who were still on school grounds inside the building. 

Last year, Nequeil Fowler was gunned down while walking with her blind sister, Valerie, on Labor Day.

Four men, all in their 20s, have been charged in that shooting.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report.

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