Thursday afternoon Chicago Public Schools employee was shot and killed outside the elementary school where he was working on, according to Chicago Police and CPS. The shooter fled the scene. No one is in custody and police continue to investigate.
Denzel Thornton, 25, was outside in the 4800 block of W Walton St in the South Austin neighborhood at around 12:30 p.m. when he was shot in the head. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
The crime scene took place where a graduation ceremony was scheduled to take place later in the afternoon outside Robert McNair elementary school.
Denzel Thornton, lived in Buena Park,and was an employee of the Chicago Public Schools as a Compliance Specialist for Nutrition Services, according to a statement from the district. He had not worked quite a year– 10 months. He is place of work was based out of the district’s central office, and was doing his regular rounds at McNair when the shooting occurred, officials said.
The reason for the shooting is unknown. Roy also said Thornton had no gang ties or criminal history.”It does not appear the school, the students, or staff was targeted or in risk at anytime,” CPD Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy said in a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Also noted by Roy is that Thornton had no gang ties or criminal history.
CPS CEO Forrest Claypool made a statement to the public, “On behalf of all of Chicago Public Schools, we were devastated to learn today about the tragic death of one of our employees. Denzel Thornton was a member of our Nutrition Services team, and like many CPS employees, he worked hard every day to serve our children. Even in challenging circumstances, CPS employees are extraordinarily dedicated to the students we serve, and I have the deepest respect for their commitment and hard work. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Denzel Thornton, and we will all keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”
No McNair students were injured as a result of this incident, however students may have questions or be upset by what happened. Shortly after the shooting, families received an automated call saying “The Chicago Police Department is currently investigating an incident that took place outside our school today. The CPS Crisis Support Team will be at school Friday to provide assistance to students and staff needing support. An increased presence from CPS Safety and Security will also be present.”
The 8th grade graduation took place as scheduled.