A 54-year-old man was fatally shot early Saturday evening on a block that has been designated a "Safe Passage" route by Chicago Public Schools ahead of the first day of school in two weeks.
A 25-year-old man also sustained a graze wound when a gunman approached him and Ralph McNeal, 54, around 6:45 p.m. on the street near 29th and State, near the IIT campus in the city's Douglas neighborhood, NBC Chicago reports.
According to ABC Chicago, McNeal was known by his family and friends as Cubby and was pronounced dead at an area hospital shortly after the shooting. An investigation is ongoing and no one was in custody as of Monday morning.
The shooting took place along the route students relocating from Williams Prep Academy will be traveling to get to their new school -- Drake Elementary -- beginning on Aug. 26. Drake is located about four blocks from the site of the shooting, putting parents of Drake students on edge.
In response to the homicide, the Chicago Police Department issued a statement saying "ensuring the safety of our children is everyone's top priority," the Chicago Tribune reports.
"Kids have been walking through challenging areas for years and through the Safe Passage program, in partnership with the community, we will continue to help kids focus on their studies instead of their safety," the statement continued.
CPS had announced the designated "Safe Passage" routes for students just one day prior to the fatal shooting, on Friday.
Though the district is insisting that the routes, denoted by yellow signs, have been carefully considered and will be properly supervised by 600 additional workers and more volunteers on top of prior staffing numbers, critics insist the newly expanded "Safe Passage" program is not ready for the fast-approaching first day of school.