School bus reported hit by gunfire on Far South Side

A bus transporting students to a Far South Side parochial school was believed to have been hit by gunfire this morning as the vehicle was picking up children in the South Deering neighborhood, authorities said.

Neither the driver nor any of the students on the bus at the time were injured, police said.

Police were called to Our Lady of Guadalupe School, 9050 S. Burley Ave., about 7:50 a.m., following a report of criminal damage to a bus there, said Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada. Police found that a gunshot appears to have entered one of the windows of the bus, traveled through a seat, then exited another window, in the incident in the 10600 block of South Calhoun Avenue, said News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak.

The bus was hit about 7:40 a.m. as it was picking up children about two miles away from the school, said Ryan Blackburn, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Officer of Catholic Schools. About 30 students, ranging from kindergarten to 8th grade, were on the bus at the time, he said.

"Gratefully none of the students were harmed, and this incident demonstrates why the school's mission is so critical to its families," Blackburn said in an emailed statement that also was being distributed to parents. "Teaching our students to learn well and live as disciples of Jesus Christ is what we do, and any action that threatens our children's safety can not be tolerated."

The driver of the bus told police on the scene that he originally thought the damage came from a paint gun, and so he drove the students to school. The principal said he believed Our Lady of Gaudalupe kept the children on the bus from being harmed, but declined further comment.

Blackburn did not immediately know exactly how many students were on the bus at the time of the gunfire or exactly when the incident happened.

Tribune photographer Antonio Perez contributed

Twitter: @ltaford

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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