Chicago's rampant gun violence continues to rock the city's prep sports community.
According to multiple local media reports, Simeon Career Academy sophomore football and wrestling standout Michael Flournoy III was shot and killed over the weekend, becoming the latest in a long line of Chicago high school student athletes to join the city's growing list of firearm-related homicides.
Flournoy played defensive back and wide receiver for the sophomore football team. He also wrestled.
“He was a great kid, always helping people out," Simeon football coach Dante Culbreath told the Sun-Times. "He was a very soft-spoken young man, you would have to tell him to speak up just to hear him talk. Just a good kid.”
Simeon wrestling coach Carnell Jones added to WGN-TV: "He worked really hard and was just really focused on doing better, doing well. He was always talking about his grades. It's just shocking and really hard to swallow."
Simeon, of course, was home to the highest-profile Chicago prep athlete to be shot to death. The top-ranked basketball recruit in the Class of 1984, Ben Wilson was also killed on the city's South Side. Like Wilson, Flournoy was reportedly on his way to pick up food when a group of boys "jumped on him. Beat him up. And they shot him in the face," his grandfather, Samuel Woods, told the Sun-Times.
During this winter's prep basketball season, Chicago Marshall Metro assistant coach Shawn Harrington was shot while driving his daughter to school. A few weeks later, Chicago Orr Academy hoops standout Tyqone Greer was shot at a party just prior to the postseason. Both survived.
Between Friday night and Sunday morning in Chicago, gunshots killed two residents, including Flournoy, and wounded another 21 people, the Sun-Times reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most recent statistics placed Chicago second only to Los Angeles with 1,139 firearm-related homicides in 2009-10.
"These murders have got to stop. We cannot take any more of this," Flournoy's grandmother, Sabrina Butler, told WGN-TV. "Parents, you need to grab your kids and become parents again."
"I shouldn't have to bury my 16-year-old grandson. It's not fair. It has to stop."
Surprisingly, following a bill that granted Illinois gun owners the right to carry concealed firearms in July 2013, the Chicago Police Department recently announced the city's murder total in the first quarter of 2014 reached its lowest rate since 1958. Still, Ben Wilson wasn't the first prep athlete to be claimed by Chicago's gun violence and Michael Flournoy III likely won't be the last. Further action must be taken, and considering President Barack Obama once called the city home, the infrastructure seems to be in place to act now.
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