A 31-year-old school bus driver is fortunate to be alive after a Sept. 30 shooting in the 4300 block of West Jackson in West Garfield Park. The shooting happened at around 5:33 p.m.
According to reports, 32 juniors from Christ the King Jesuit College Prep, in addition to one chaperone, were on the bus at the time of the shooting. The students are participants in a corporate work study program and were coming back from jobs in the city, a statement released by the high school noted.
Police told reporters last week that the shooter may have been targeting a passing car. A bullet struck a window on the bus, leaving the driver grazed on the left ear either by shards of glass or the bullet itself. He was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where police said he was in good condition as of last week. No one else on the bus was hurt.
Although the shooter hadn’t been identified by press time, police noted that they were reviewing several surveillance cameras in the area of the crime and searching for leads.
Woodrow Wilson, who was in the area when the shooting happened, told Chicago Sun-Times reporters that he heard between 10 and 20 gunshots.
“I took off down that alley,” Wilson said. “I didn’t know a bus driver got shot. That could’ve been me.”
“As always, the safety and well-being of our students is our primary concern,” noted Angela Gillespie, the director of Christ the King’s corporate work study program, in the statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the driver who has been taken to Mount Sinai Hospital. We recently learned the driver is in stable condition. The driver is not a CTK employee, but an employee of our contracted bus service.”
Gillespie said that school administrators “followed our written crisis management plan and our students were exceptional throughout this incident.”
Shawnetta Murry, a resident of the block where the shooting happened, told Fox 32 that she worries constantly about the violence.
“You just live in constant fear, and we should not have to live in fear,” she said. “Every single day like they have no regards, they don’t care, bus full of kids like you said it’s broad daylight and you’re just shooting like there’s nobody out here, but they don’t care,” said Shawnetta Murry.
Gillespie noted in her statement last week that the following Monday, administrators would be checking in with each student and a crisis team of counselors and social workers would speak with students.
“Understandably, some students may choose to stay at school for the day to meet with counselors,” she noted. “We will delay our departure to work in order to ensure the health and well-being of our students. We will send an email once the buses have left Christ the King.”