The Rev. Ira Acree speaks on Friday, July 1, 2022, during a press conference outside the Oak Park police department regarding the murder of Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe. | ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

A group of church leaders from Oak Park and Chicago’s West Side is offering a reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the murder of Oak Parker Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe. 

Logan-Bledsoe, 18, was shot and killed June 22 in the parking of a BP gas station at 100 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park. A witness previously told police two men approached the young woman and shot her. They then stole items from her, taking off in her dark Chrysler vehicle. Police found Logan-Bledsoe unresponsive and transported her to Loyola University Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. 

No suspects are in custody, but police are making progress in their investigation, village spokesperson Erik Jacobsen told Wednesday Journal via email. Detectives are following multiple leads and continue to partner with the West Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, the Illinois State Police, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police, the FBI and the Cook County State Attorney’s office, Jacobsen said.

The Leaders Network, a group featuring faith leaders and activists from Oak Park and the Near West Side, gathered July 1 in front of the Oak Park Police Department and announced a $5,000 reward for anyone with tips or information that could help solve Logan-Bledsoe’s case. The reward has since increased to $1,000 through a donation by a local resident.

“Jailyn’s life means so much to us. She has impacted two communities,” said the Rev. Ira Acree, co-chair of the Leaders Network who led the brief press conference outside the police department.  

Acree, pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church in the city’s Austin neighborhood, spoke of the pain of losing Logan-Bledsoe, an Oak Park and River Forest High School student whose family’s history was rooted in activism. 

Phyllis Logan, Logan-Bledsoe’s grandmother, is vice president of the Westside Branch NAACP and has dedicated her life to fighting for people’s rights, he said. The college-bound teen, herself, was also a member of the NAACP’s youth council and a former member of the student-led organization Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League (ROYAL). This summer, Logan-Bledsoe had plans to travel to a conference in New Jersey and represent the NAACP. 

“I have no mercy at all for murderers, and I am praying – and we are also demanding – from this police department to give a full-scale investigation because we want these killers off the streets,” Acree said. 

Congressman Danny Davis (7th) and other members of the Leaders Network and the Westside NAACP joined Acree, pleading with the community for more help. During the press conference, the Rev. Cy Fields and the Rev. John Edgerton sent a message directly to Logan-Bledsoe’s assailants and asked them to come forward.  

“You who pulled the trigger, if there’s any measure of humanity in you, any conscious, any value, turn yourself in,” said Fields, who co-chairs the Leaders Network with Acree and is pastor of the New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in East Garfield Park. 

Recalling a Bible verse from Scripture, Fields added: “Confess your faults, one to another. You’ve done great harm. How can you live with yourself? How can you wake up in the morning and go about your daily tasks knowing that you have ended the life of someone precious?”

Edgerton, pastor of First United Church of Oak Park, and Deborah Williams-Thurmond, a member of the Westside NAACP, also took a moment to remember Logan-Bledsoe. 

Logan-Bledsoe, who was part of OPRF’s Class of 2022, planned on attending Howard University in the fall and recently scored a summer internship with a congressman, said Edgerton, president of Community of Congregations, an organization that works closely with the Leaders Network and connects faith leaders from Oak Park and River Forest. Williams-Thurmond, who served as a youth advisor in the local NAACP chapter, said her daughter and Logan-Bledsoe were close friends and considered Logan-Bledsoe like one of her own.

“We got to feel safe coming in and out of Oak Park …” said an emotional Williams-Thurmond. “I just don’t understand what’s going on. Can somebody please help?”

Anyone with information should contact the police department at 708-386-3800. Those interested in providing information anonymously can do so by going to oak-park.us/crimetip or calling 708-434-1636.

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