16-year-old shot, killed in Chester on the way to school

- A 16-year-old Chester high school sophomore and football player was gunned down on his way to school Friday morning, part of a violent day in an already violent city.

Authorities say Zion Abdullah was a "good kid" with no history of trouble with the law was fatally shot by an armed man or men after an altercation near 11th and Kerlin around 7:30 a.m. Friday.

Crossing guard Anthony Church had just taken up his position at that intersection when the shots rang out.

"I heard all the pop, pop, pop and the kid's running," said Church, "And then I hear the ricochet off the walls so I ducked."

One bullet shattered the window of a corner fried chicken joint. But at least one other hit Abdullah. He staggered down 11th to the vacant Columbus elementary school property and died on the scene.

Chester High, right next door, and other Chester-Upland schools, were placed on lockdown for the safety of students.  Parents rushed to the high school to get their kids out and home.

"Scared," said Juanita Miller as she placed her son in the car. "I was really scared. I don't know, it's just too much."

One woman scuffled with police and was detained. Twice during the morning, authorities prepared to lift the lockdown only to reinstate it when other shooting incidents were reported. Said frustrated Superintendent Dr. Juan Baughn:

"This wasn't just an act of violence against a student. It was an active of violence against the whole community and we can't stand for it."

The teen's murder was part of a flurry of violence that happened so fast authorities couldn't even get through their news conference to describe the first three shooting incidents, without receiving news of a fourth; a man pointing a gun at a Chester cop ended with shots fired and the man's capture.

"Well," said police chief James Nolan, "This is when you earn your keep, so to speak."

Back at 11th and Kerlin, Keaira Smith was in bed when the shooting started.

She's lived in Chester for more than three decades but now wonders whether it's time to go.

"The city needs to get themselves together," said Smith. "And do a little bit better. I'm just scared."

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