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Reward offered in shooting of Black Catholic school students in Chicago

Three young brothers were shot over the weekend in Chicago. Their parish is offering a cash reward for information leading to an arrest.

Reward posting from Fr Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago. (Pfleger/Facebook)

A fundraiser is seeking to support a trio of Catholic school students injured in a drive-by shooting on Sunday in Chicago, two of whom were in critical condition early this week.

The three victims, who are brothers, were collaborators with St. Sabina Catholic Church’s gun violence prevention efforts, and the parish has announced it is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

“We will catch these cowards,” said Fr Michael Pfleger, the church’s pastor, on Twitter Monday morning.

“When do we decide in the community [that] this is over?”

The brothers—aged 15, 17, and 21—were on the porch of their home at the time of the shooting on Sunday afternoon. They are affiliated with several local Catholic schools, including Leo Catholic High School, St. Sabina Academy, and the De Le Salle Institute.

Big Shoulders Fund, a nonprofit organization supporting the schools, began the fundraiser this week for their medical costs and relocation. They have raised nearly roughly 13% of their $30,000 goal as of Wednesday morning.

“Their recovery will be long, painful and expensive,” the fundraiser organizers wrote.

“We are praying for their healing, and for their mother, who is dealing with a level of trauma and fear that no parent should have to endure.”

The shooting is only the latest this year to rock the community of St. Sabina’s, located on Chicago’s South Side in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

Another of the church’s anti-gun activists, 20-year-old LaNiyah Murphy, was murdered by an acquaintance in January, followed by 18-year-old Khalil White-El in August. Gary London, a veteran member of the congregation, was injured in a shooting in July.

Despite conducting more background checks for gun purchases than any city in the country, Chicago has experienced 565 shooting deaths so far in 2022, down from previous years but representing an ongoing crisis.

Nearly 3,200 people have been shot in the city overall since January, and most cases go unsolved or are closed without charges—prompting efforts like St. Sabina’s cash rewards for tips.

The predominantly Black parish is one of the Chicago archdiocese’s most vibrant and has long been a hub for activism. Among other groups, the church currently hosts B.R.A.V.E. Youth Leaders (“Bold Resistance Against Violence Everywhere”) and Purpose Over Pain, a group founded by parents who have lost children in shootings.

Fr Pfleger, on leave since last month pending a child sex abuse allegation, also leads weekly Friday Night Peace Walks every summer throughout the St. Sabina neighborhood.

The church asks that any information on Sunday’s shooting be submitted to the City of Chicago at (312) 747-8273 or to the church at (773) 483-4300. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online to the Chicago Police Department here.

Posted by Father Michael Pfleger on Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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