OPRF mourns student fatally shot in Chicago

D200 officials described Michael Reese, 17, as a 'gentle soul'

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

The Oak Park and River Forest High School community is mourning the death of a student school officials described as a "gentle soul, who had significant relationships with many teachers, staff and students," according to an email sent out by District 200 Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams on Oct. 7. 

Michael Reese, a 17-year-old senior at OPRF, was critically wounded in a shooting on Oct. 2 in the 5800 block of West Washington Boulevard in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, police said. 

Reese had been standing on the sidewalk in the area around 6:55 p.m., when someone in a black SUV drove up to him and started shooting. Reese was hit in the chest and rushed to Mt. Sinai Hospital in North Lawndale, where he was pronounced dead at 1:12 a.m. on Oct. 7, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. 

In her email, Pruitt-Adams described Reese as a "young man who was very stylish and [who] always coordinated his outfits." Reese was quiet, the superintendent said, but "left quite the impression on many and he will be missed." 

District officials have made available social workers and counselors to students dealing with grief from Reese's death, Pruitt-Adams said. 

On the day he died, OPRF teacher and community activist Anthony Clark, who coordinates the high school's Hip Hop Club, of which Reese was a member, started a GoFundMe campaign to help support Reese's family. The campaign has so far raised close to $6,000 of its $10,000 goal. 

"Michael was a talented young man who had a heart of gold and truly meant a lot to so many in the school building," Clark said. "The impact of his passing is reverberating throughout the school community, as he will be dearly missed.

"Gun violence," he added, "is a pervasive epidemic that, until systematically addressed, will continue to take the lives of young people with promise." 

To donate to the GoFundMe campaign, visit bit.ly/35kvXtB. 

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com  

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Darrell Davis from Aurora  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 9:18 PM

First off my deepest condolences to the family and friends of this young man, this cycle that is being carried out by our community is so sad. The fact that a person would want to take someone's life over whatever really shows the kind of people that carry guns around to shoot people are scared cowards. Too cowardly to settle their differences in other ways. When i grew up, sometimes we settled our differnces through talking, fighting, or football and on the end you lived to sée another day. The way they are settling no one wins because 1 is dead and eventually the other is caught and put away for life or they end up losing their life. I blame this way of doing on the great ??. When they planted boatloads of drugs in our cities and took hold of a generation in which respect was discontinued. After wittnessing the destruction that crack and heroin brought forth, children had to wittness and fend for themselves and the hatred that came forth created what has manifested into the way of the world today. Figure out how to get back respect and we will see our youth begin to live...

Edwin Haag  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 8:05 PM

Rest in peace Michael. Know that you made the world a better place.

Mary Kay O'Grady  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 7:57 PM

May he rest in peace. I can't believe that we tolerate guns, guns and more guns.

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