A 17-year-old student who spent his days as a social activist fighting for police to be removed from Chicago public school has died after being shot in the head.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Caleb Reed was found on a sidewalk in Rogers Park with a gunshot to wound to his head. Reed was a student at Mather High School and also worked as a leader of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE). The outlet reports that Reed was shot at around 1 p.m. on Friday in the 1900 block of West Granville Avenue, police say. He was immediately taken to Francis Hospital Evanston, and he died there Sunday morning.
For now, police have not released any other details related to the shooting, and no arrests have been made, according to reports. In a statement regarding Reed’s death, the group GoodKids MadCity wrote that Reed was a freedom fighter who wanted to reinvest the funds used for school policing into mental health support and other programs to assist children.
“This tragedy is traumatizing & heartbreaking. We can honor him by continuing the call to end (gun violence) & get students resources for healing,” wrote the organization in a tweet. Ald. Andre Vasquez called Reed a “a light in our community that was extinguished too soon. We need to address the root causes of #GunViolence so that we stop losing our people.” Cosigning Vasquez’s words, the Chicago Teachers Union said, “This madness won’t stop with more enforcement. Chicago must end its violent relationship with our children and provide empathy, healing, and means to manage the onslaught of trauma.”
Reed just recently appeared at a news conference on June 9, where he shared his support for a proposed ordinance that would terminate the $33 million contract between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police Department, which would also remove school resource officers from schools. Reed spoke on how having police officers in schools could potentially influence children and other people to see them as criminals. Reed opened up about how he was arrested because he didn’t have his school ID at a school basketball game.
During halftime, Reed went to use the bathroom, and when asked by a resource officer where his ID was, Reed responded that he didn’t have it. Shortly after, another resource officer called to have him arrested. He was detained in a cell for six hours. “While I was sitting in that cell, I felt angry and confused, but I remained calm because I knew the situation could have escalated real quick,” Reed said. “The situation was wrong because I did nothing wrong. I would have wanted the officer to ask me to leave, but that didn’t happen that day.”