A 15-year-old girl who was walking to her school bus stop was savagely beaten and sexually assaulted near a "Safe Passage" zone in Chicago.
The girl was discovered around 8 a.m. Tuesday more than two hours after she left for school.
"Just opening the door to take maybe a morning sweep of the sidewalks. And to find something like that is just shocking," Michael Klockowski, who came across the victim in his backyard, told ABC.
Police stated that the attack occurred sometime after 6 a.m. as the girl was on her way to her bus stop. Safe Passage workers do not get to their posts until 7 a.m., but the girl attends a charter school outside of the city which forces her to catch an earlier bus, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
The attack occurred in an area that has three schools nearby.
"I just hope they find the person who did this because there's so many children in this area, and one can't help but suspect that somebody might, like this, [capable] of something so violent, might do it again, sometime soon," Klockowski added.
Questions are now being raised as to the overall safety of the Safe Passage program in parts of the city that have seen an increase in gun violence.
"Everybody is scared. It can happen to any of our kids, so everybody is worried," Ada Cambron, a parent, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "In the morning, you never see police walking around and stuff like that."
City and school officials were forced to increase the number of Safe Passage routes this fall to accommodate the increase in school children utilizing the routs because of a record number of school closings.
48 elementary schools were shuttered due to a $1 billion budget shortfall. The change affected roughly 12,000 students in some of the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago.