Two teenagers leaving their Loop high school were fatally wounded in a midday shooting Friday that startled onlookers under a busy “L” station in the center of the city.
Around 12:25 p.m., the teens — 16- and 17-year-old boys — were leaving Innovations High School with about four other people, Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief Jon Hein said Friday.
As the group was in the first block of North Wabash Avenue, two vehicles pulled up and several people exited before opening fire.
Each boy was shot in the chest, and the older boy was also shot in the hip. The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the 17-year-old as Monterio Williams and the 16-year-old as Robert Boston. Both lived on the Near West Side.
Autopsies performed Saturday confirmed that both teens died from multiple gunshots in deaths ruled as homicides, according to the medical examiner’s office.
The coat of a woman standing nearby was also grazed by a bullet, but she declined medical attention, according to police.
Witnesses at the scene said they heard up to 20 shots fired at the group, and one high-ranking police official described the shooting as an “ambush.” No one was in custody as of Saturday afternoon, police said.
Alicia Shines, the principal of Innovations High School, called the boys’ death a “devastating loss.” In a statement late Friday, Shines said that the students were shot and killed while being dismissed for the weekend. Innovations, with its 443 student body, is the largest school operated by the Youth Connection Charter School network.
“We appreciate the outpouring of support as our school grapples with this senseless act of violence,” Shines said.
Mayor Brandon Johnson addressed the shooting in a statement released Friday afternoon, saying:
“I extend my deepest condolences to their families and the Innovations High School community as they grapple with unimaginable pain and trauma caused by this senseless act of violence. The Chicago Police Department is actively investigating and the Mayor’s Office of Community Safety has activated its victim services support teams to aid victims’ families and fellow students. My prayers and those of my entire administration are with everyone impacted during this difficult time.”
The two were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford said. They were pronounced dead a short time later, according to Hein.
Juan Manuel, a building supervisor at the corner of Madison Street and Wabash Avenue, said he had walked out for a lunch break and was a block north when he heard the shots. He then saw about two dozen police cars speed by.
“It gets really bad around here,” Manuel said. “There’s physical fights and shootings in the middle of the day.”
Ald. Bill Conway, 34th, also extended condolences to the families of the two teens, and said his office is in close contact with CPD’s Central District (1st).
“We need to do more to curb gun violence and make all of Chicago safer,” Conway said. “Nothing is more important, and I will do everything in my power to ensure law enforcement has the resources they need to fight and deter crime.”
Police officers were investigating and taped off Wabash between Washington Street and Madison Friday afternoon. Crowds of people stopped at the scene as the rain fell.
A man who identified himself by his first name, KB, was working in a barbershop nearby when he heard more than a dozen shots outside. When he went outside, he could see someone lying on the ground.
“It’s crazy. They looked like a group of kids,” he said.
Many of the shops and businesses near the school were closed and their doors locked about three hours after the shooting, as rain poured down. Some employees who arrived later in the afternoon said there was a heavy police presence on the block for a couple of hours, although foot, train and vehicle traffic moved along as normal.
In recent years, several other teens have been killed or wounded in shootings in the downtown area.
In April 2023, another pair of teen boys, also 16 and 17, were shot in the first block of East Washington Street — just a half-block south of where Friday’s shooting occurred. A year earlier, a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed near The Bean sculpture in Millennium Park.
Chicago Tribune’s Rebecca Johnson contributed.