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.