Oak Park mourns 18-year-old killed in gas station shooting

Less than a month after the kickoff was held at Oak Park and River Forest High School in the western suburb of Oak Park, an 18-year-old who was part of this year’s graduating class is remembered by the school and the surrounding community after she was killed on Wednesday. killed during an apparent robbery and carjacking at a local gas station.

According to the Oak Park Police Department, about 1:52 a.m. on the 100 block of Chicago Avenue — on Taylor Avenue — responded to a call for shots and found a woman unresponsive in a parking lot.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the woman as Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe, 18, of Oak Park late Wednesday. The results of an autopsy conducted Thursday ruled her death a homicide after being shot in the neck.

Police said she had been robbed and the suspects fled the gas station in the vehicle she had been driving. Late Thursday afternoon, police had not yet announced any arrests in the case.

Her family was not immediately available for comment. However, Logan-Bledsoe is remembered by some in the Oak Park area as a fierce advocate and organizer for her work in the community, as well as her “radiance” and “confidence.”

“She was a very powerful, brilliant young woman who absolutely cared about her community,” said Cynthia Drito, the teen counselor at the Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League, a youth-led community organization that advocates for racial equality.

OPRF High School started on May 28 and Logan-Bledsoe had been part of the Class of 2022.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news that Oak Park and River Forest High School student Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe has been accosted and murdered. [Wednesday] during a robbery at a local gas station,” school officials said in a statement on Thursday. “Keep Jailyn’s family in your thoughts at this difficult time.”

Logan-Bledsoe planned to attend college in Miami and pursue a career in technology, Drito said.

While the students are on summer vacation, officials said in the statement grief counselors would be available for students and staff “who may be in distress as a result of this tragedy.”

Since Logan-Bledsoe’s death, numerous community members, advocates and leaders have used social media to condemn the increase in violence in the area, particularly at 24-hour gas stations like the one where she was shot.

In addition to her work at ROYAL, which focused on fighting police brutality, LGBTQ issues, and more, Logan-Bledsoe chaired the NAACP’s Youth Committee.

Drito said ROYAL would advocate an earlier closure of the BP gas station – around 11 p.m. – but stressed that in addition to addressing the immediate safety concerns resulting from the shooting and related incidents, community leaders and members should consider other factors that could lead to violence.

“I think we really need to look more seriously at what’s causing these acts of violence at the core,” she said. “For example, Oak Park has a massive police force and I think it shows that even as much police as you’ll have — just like you’ve seen in Uvalde, Texas — the violence doesn’t really happen.”

Jacob Díaz, 17, who called himself a close friend of Logan-Bledsoe’s and still works for ROYAL, lives right across from the gas station where the shooting took place. He said he remembered waking up that night to the sound of a gunshot, but believed he was dreaming until he heard sirens.

“The next day… I saw police tape everywhere, I saw the forensics team, police everywhere. And I’m like, ‘damn, who was that?’ And I was praying in my head… ‘Oh, I hope I don’t know this person. I hope I don’t know this person.’ Find out that it was someone I was very close to and shared a bond with,” he told Pioneer Press.

Díaz, who grew up in Oak Park, has complained about the violence in his community over the years.

“Just knowing it was so close to home is the most heartbreaking thing to me, because Oak Park is supposed to be a safe community, and a lot of people come to Oak Park to escape the dangers of the city itself and it just isn’t the same as when I grew up here. It’s just different,” he said.

Oak Park Trustee Ravi Parakkat wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday that “24/7 gas stations are and will remain crime hotspots.”

Parakkat told Pioneer Press that seven of the eight 24-hour gas stations in the area have seen 21 criminal incidents since 2019, according to data provided to him by police.

Parakkat does not believe Wednesday’s deadly shooting will be an isolated incident, especially as economic conditions continue to deteriorate, something he will keep in mind as he takes community concerns to the village council.

“This is a trend that will increase due to inflationary pressures. The socio-economic situation is not looking great in the coming months, so that will have a direct impact on crime and in some cases violent crime,” he said. you keep the community safe? How do you make the right investments to keep the community safe?…I think that’s something that will rest with us as a board for this community.”

A man who identified himself to Pioneer Press as the manager of the BP gas station where the shooting took place Wednesday and asked to remain anonymous, said he thought community criticism of 24-hour gas stations was misplaced. He said the bigger problem was how the two suspects – who he said looked “young”, based on surveillance video he saw – came into possession of the gun used in the shooting.

“I know there are concerned neighbors and they are pointing the finger at us and somehow blaming BP. … How are we responsible for this?” he asked. “The way it could have been prevented is if those kids didn’t have guns. Do we feel safe? No, no one does, if there is shooting nearby, no one feels safe.”

Leave a Comment