Shooting death of 13-year-old in North Side park ‘appears to have been an accident,’ alderman says

Lerner Park | Dheeraj Lalwani via Google

The fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy inside a North Side park on Friday evening was an accident, Chicago Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) told her constituents in an email Saturday night.

An off-duty Chicago police officer found the boy under a gazebo at Lerner Park, 7000 North Sacramento, after hearing a gunshot and seeing a group of young people running from the area around 9:50 p.m., according to a CPD report.

Silverstein identified the boy as Lavell Winslow, a student at West Ridge Elementary School.

“He was a bright young man, bright future,” Lavell’s mother, Vanessa Winslow, told ABC7 on Saturday. “He wasn’t a bad child, not in a gang. He was just hanging with the wrong crowd.”

Silverstein said, “police are investigating, but the shooting appears to have been an accident. There were several witnesses … There is currently no indication that it was gang related or that it poses an additional threat to the community.”

“My deepest condolences go out to the boy’s parents, family, and the entire West Ridge community who is mourning his loss,” Silverstein wrote.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is