Austin community members are still grappling with the daytime murder of a Chicago Public Schools employee outside of McNair Elementary School, 4820 W. Walton St., in South Austin on June 16.
Denzel Thornton, 25, of Uptown, was conducting his usual work routine at the school, where he was a nutrition compliance specialist, when he was shot.
The incident happened at around 12:30 p.m., prompting the district to implement a lockdown of the school until classes dismissed at 2:30 p.m. Later in the day, a graduation ceremony for the school’s eighth-grade students occurred as planned. Grief counselors have been dispatched to help students in the aftermath of the murder.
Forrest Claypool, head of CPS, said that the shooting had nothing to do with the school. Chicago Police noted that Thornton had no reported gang affiliation or criminal history. So far, police say, they don’t have a motive for the shooting.
In a statement, Claypool noted that CPS officials were “devastated to learn” about the murder of a district employee, adding that, “like many CPS employees, he worked hard every day to serve our children.”