Oak Park mourns 18-year-old man killed in gas station shooting

Less than a month after she started at Oak Park and River Forest High School in west suburban Oak Park, an 18-year-old who was part of this year’s graduating class was killed in the school and surrounding area after she was killed on Wednesday. Being remembered by the community. During an apparent robbery and carjacking at a local gas station.

According to Oak Park Police, officers responded to a call of firing at 1:52 a.m. in the 100 block of Chicago – Taylor Avenue – and found a woman unresponsive in the parking lot.

Late Wednesday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the woman as 18-year-old Jaylyn Logan-Bledsoe of Oak Park. The results of an autopsy conducted on Thursday ruled his death a homicide after he was shot in the throat.

Police said she was robbed and the suspects fled the gas station in the vehicle she was driving. Till late Thursday evening, the police had not announced any arrest in the case.

Her family could not be immediately reached for comment about the teenager and her death. However, Logan-Bledo is being remembered by some in the Oak Park area as a fierce advocate and organizer for his work in the community, as well as his “talent” and “confidence”.

“She was a very powerful, talented young woman who certainly cared deeply about her community,” said Cynthia Drito, a mentor to teens at the Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League, a youth-led community organization that focused on racial discrimination. Advocated equality.

OPRF High School opened on May 28, and Logan-Bledsoe was part of the graduating class of 2022.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news that Oak Park and River Forest High School student Jailyne Logan-Bledsoe was murdered [Wednesday] during a robbery at a local gas station,” school officials said in a statement Thursday. “Please keep Jailin’s family in your thoughts during this difficult time.”

According to Drito, Logan-Bledsoe was planning to go to college in Miami and pursue a career in tech.

Although the students are on summer vacation, officials said in the statement that bereavement counselors will be available for students and staff “who may be in distress as a result of this tragedy.”

Since Logan-Bledo’s death, many community members, advocates and leaders have taken to social media to stem the escalation of violence in the area, particularly at the 24-hour gas stations where she was shot.

In addition to his work with Royal, which focused on combating police violence, LGBTQ issues and more, Logan-Bledsoe chaired the youth committee for the NAACP.

Drito said Royal BP would advocate for the gas station to be closed earlier – around 11 a.m. – but stressed that in addition to addressing the immediate safety concerns posed by the shooting and related incidents, community leaders and members should consider other factors. should consider what may lead to it. violence.

“I think we really need to get more serious to look at what is at the root of these acts of violence,” she said. “Oak Park, for example, has a huge police force and I think it shows that the number of police you’ll have — just like you’ve seen in Uvalde, Texas — it doesn’t really stop violence.”

Jacob Diaz, 17, who calls himself a close friend of Logan-Bledsoe and continues to work with Royal to this day, lives directly across the street from the gas station where the shooting took place. He said he remembers waking up that night to the sound of a gunshot, but believed he was dreaming until he heard the sirens.

“The next day… I saw police tapes all around, I saw forensic teams, police everywhere. And I’m like, ‘Dang, who was that?’ And I was praying to myself… ‘Oh, I hope I don’t know this person. I hope I don’t know this person.’ Come to find out that this was someone I used to be really close to and with whom I shared a bond,” he told Pioneer Press.

Diaz, who grew up in Oak Park, laments how violence has escalated in her community over the years.

“Just knowing it was so close to home is the most heartbreaking thing for me because Oak Park is considered a safe community, and a lot of people come to Oak Park to escape the dangers of the city and it’s just Not the same as it was when I grew up here. It’s just different,” he said.

Ravi Parakkat, the trustee of Oak Park Village, appointed A. written in facebook post On Wednesday that “24/7 gas stations have been and remain hot spots for crime.”

Parakkat told Pioneer Press that seven of the area’s eight 24-hour gas stations have seen 21 criminal incidents since 2019, which he said was provided to him by the police department.

Parakkat doesn’t believe that Wednesday’s fatal shooting will be an isolated incident, especially as economic conditions continue to deteriorate, something he is taking into account as he takes community concerns to the village board.

“It is a trend which is going to go up because of inflationary pressures. The socio-economic situation is not looking very good in the coming months, which will have a direct impact on crime and in some cases violent crime. “So how do you keep the community safe? How do you make the right investments to keep the community safe? … I think that’s something that will stick with us as a board for this community.”

A person who identified Pioneer Press as the manager of the BP gas station where the shooting took place on Wednesday, and requested anonymity, said he found the community’s criticism of 24-hour gas stations to be false. He said the biggest problem was how the two suspects – whom he “looked young,” based on surveillance video footage – came into possession of the gun used in the shooting.

“I know there are neighbors concerned and they are pointing fingers at us, somehow blaming BP. … how are we responsible for any of this?” He asked. “The only way it could have been prevented is if those kids didn’t have guns. Do we feel safe? No, nobody does, when there is shooting around, no one feels safe.”

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