VIA: Chicago Tribune
Police investigating the death of Chicago school board president Michael Scott say initial reports from the scene indicate Scott shot himself in the head along the banks of the Chicago River.
Scott’s family had reported him missing on Sunday. Police used his cell phone to locate his body and his car behind the Chicago Apparel Center at 350 N. Orleans along the north branch of the river early this morning, police sources tell the Chicago Tribune.
He apparently fell forward after shooting himself, and the gun was found near the body, the sources say.
While police sources say it appears the gunshot wound was self-inflicted, the Cook County medical examiner’s office was still conducting its investigation and hadn’t determined how he died.
Scott’s family had contacted police Sunday night when he didn’t show up after visiting his sister at a South Loop care facility. The relative said he visited his sister regularly on Sundays and described him as a creature of habit. He was last seen about 6 p.m.
Around 3:15 a.m. today, police found Scott’s blue Cadillac parked next to a trash bin yards away from where he was discovered along the river, police say. The car was winched onto a tow truck about 6:30 a.m.
Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart said in a statement that Scott recently told her he didn’t think he’d be around much longer as board president, and that he viewed his appointment as being an interim one.
Stewart said she last spoke with Scott on Saturday regarding the upcoming school board agenda.
“I found Michael to be someone who worked with the union in a cooperative manner and who was willing to hear the other side of any issue,” said Stewart. “I believe he was dedicated to doing what was best for the children in Chicago Public Schools and his death leaves a huge void to fill at a time when the Board desperately needs stability in its leadership.”
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the former chief of Chicago Public Schools, released a statement: “I am shocked and saddened by the sudden death of my friend and colleague Michael Scott. Michael cared passionately about public education and made many courageous decisions as President of the Board.”
Tariq Butt, a Chicago school board member who has known Scott for about 20 years, said he was shocked by the news.
“He’s been a giant of Chicago civic life for many many years,” said Butt. “It is very tragic news.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived at the scene about 7:25 a.m.
“I am stunned beyond disbelief,” said Jackson, who said that he and Scott go back at least 25 years and praised Scott as a decent man and an excellent negotiator and problem-solver who got along with everyone. “What a Monday morning to wake up to.”
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