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

Less than a month after graduation 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 being remembered by the school and the surrounding community after that she was killed on Wednesday. during an apparent robbery and car theft at a local gas station.

According to Oak Park Police, officers responded at around 1:52 a.m. on the 100th block of Chicago Avenue — on Taylor Avenue — to a call of gunfire and found an unresponsive woman in a parking lot.

The Cook County coroner’s office on Wednesday identified the woman as Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe, 18, of Oak Park. The results of an autopsy performed on Thursday determined her death to be a homicide after she was shot in the neck.

Police said she was robbed and the suspects fled the gas station in the vehicle she was driving. As of late Thursday afternoon, police had not announced any arrests in the case.

His family could not immediately be reached for comment. However, Logan-Bledsoe is being remembered by some in the Oak Park area as a fierce advocate and organizer of her work in the community, as well as her “shine” and “confidence.”

“She was a very powerful and brilliant young woman who definitely cared deeply about her community,” said Cynthia Drito, a 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 was 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 was approached and killed. [Wednesday] during a robbery at a local gas station,” school officials said in a statement Thursday. “Please keep Jailyn’s family in your thoughts during this difficult time.”

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

Although the students are on summer break, officials said in the statement that grief counselors will be available to students and staff “who may be in danger as a result of this tragedy.”

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

In addition to his work with ROYAL, which has focused on combating police violence, LGBTQ issues, and more, Logan-Bledsoe has chaired the NAACP’s youth committee.

Drito said ROYAL would be advocating for the BP gas station to close earlier – around 11pm – but stressed that in addition to addressing the immediate safety concerns caused by the shooting and related incidents, community leaders and members must consider other factors that can lead to violence.

“I think we really need to be more serious about what is causing these acts of violence downtown,” she said. “Oak Park, for example, has a huge police force and I think that shows that even with the amount of police you will have – just as you saw in Uvalde, Texas – it doesn’t stop violence.”

Jacob Díaz, 17, who claimed to be a close friend of Logan-Bledsoe and continues to work with ROYAL today, lives across the street 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 tapes everywhere, I saw the forensics team, cops everywhere. And I was 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 that person. Come find out that it was someone I used to be very close to and who I shared a bond with,” he told Pioneer Press.

Díaz, who grew up in Oak Park, lamented how violence in his community has escalated over the years.

“Just knowing it was so close to home is the most painful thing for me because Oak Park was 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’s just not the same as it was when I was there. was growing up here. It’s just different,” he said.

Oak Park administrator Ravi Parakkat wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday that “24/7 gas stations have been and continue to be hot spots for crime.”

Parakkat told Pioneer Press that seven of the area’s eight 24-hour gas stations have recorded 21 criminal incidents since 2019, according to data he said was provided to him by the police department.

Parakkat doesn’t believe Wednesday’s fatal shooting is an isolated incident, especially as economic conditions continue to worsen, something he is keeping in mind as he raises community concerns to the Village Council.

“This is a trend that will rise because of inflationary pressures. The socio-economic situation doesn’t look good in the coming months, so this will have a direct impact on crime and, in some cases, violent crime,” he said. “So how do you keep the community safe? How do you make the right investments to keep the community safe? … I think this is something that will stay with us as a piece of advice for this community.”

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

“I know there are worried neighbors who are pointing the finger at us, somehow blaming BP. … How are we responsible for all this?” he asked. “The way this could have been avoided is if these kids didn’t have guns. Do we feel safe? No, nobody knows, when there’s gunfire out there, nobody feels safe.”

Leave a Comment