The Chicago Police Department announced Thursday a person was arrested, accused of making threats of violence targeting schools after two teens who attended Simeon Career Academy were shot and killed within hours of each other Tuesday.
Authorities addressed the social media threats of gun violence, explaining multiple schools have been targeted citywide. Police and CPS have instated additional safety measures as a result.
A person of interest, authorities say, was arrested in a south suburb.
“It’s an adult who for some reason has sent out several threats,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said. “Pretty prolific number of threats. He’s on electronic monitoring for the same type of charges.”
The head of security for Chicago Public Schools and Simeon’s principal joined CPD officials at the school Thursday to show their support for protecting young people, both on and off campus.
As law enforcement and educators met, the Simeon community continued to reel from the loss of Kentrell McNeal and Jamari Williams, both 15 years old.
McNeal, a mentor at the non-profit “GoodKidsMadCity,” was inside a vehicle near a Hyde Park gas station with a 14-year-old friend, trying to flee from another group, when he was shot and killed. Police said Thursday they have promising leads in the case, but didn’t provide additional details.
Just prior, at approximately 2:30 p.m., Williams was shot outside a strip mall at South Holland Road and West 83rd Street, around the corner from the school.
As students and faculty mourned the deaths of their classmates, parents were told to come pick up their children Wednesday after a threat of a shooting caused school officials to cut the day short.
“My son texted me and showed me a text that said they were sending all students home early,” a parent of a student said.
Even as students were sent home, some activists expressed hope that Williams and McNeal’s memory can be used as a force for good in the community.
“I think it’s taking moments like this and trying to find a way to divert the energy into something positive to honor and respect Kentrell’s life,” said Carlil Pittman, who runs “GoodKidsMadCity.”