NIU Student, Neighbor Woman, Killed By Chicago Police Answering Domestic Disturbance
Chicago police fatally shot a 19-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman when responding to a domestic disturbance call early Saturday.
Family members of 19-year-old victim Quintonio LeGrier told The Chicago Tribune that he was acting "agitated" and holding a baseball bat. "His father became worried and called the police," the Tribune reports.
The Associated Press reported that LeGrier was an engineering student at Northern Illinois University, home for the holiday break.
Details are slim about what happened between that call and LeGrier's death. LeGrier's neighbor Bettie R. Jones was also killed, reports indicate. Both of the victims are black.
Here's how the Chicago Police Department described the incident, which started when they responded to a "domestic disturbance," according to The Associated Press:
"The Chicago Police Department said in a statement that the shootings happened at around 4:25 a.m. Saturday after responding officers 'were confronted by a combative subject' on the city's West Side. Police said the shooting is under investigation and the case has been referred to the city's main police oversight agency."
LeGrier's family members told The Chicago Tribune that the college student was shot seven times.
They say LeGrier hadn't been acting like himself since September, and his behavior this morning prompted the call to the police. "We're thinking the police are going to service us, take him to the hospital. They took his life," LeGrier's mother Janet Cooksey told the Tribune.
It's unclear how Bettie Jones, the neighbor, was also killed. In this NBC Chicago segment, a tearful young woman identified as Jones' daughter says her mother was shot dead when she opened her door.
Jones was a downstairs neighbor who had been asked by LeGrier's father to keep an eye out for the arrival of the police, according to both families.
The Chicago Tribune reported later Saturday that police issued a statement saying, “The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed. The department extends its deepest condolences to the victim's family and friends.”
The West Side tragedy was the first of two police shootings Saturday. In the second, on the Far South Side, officers said they responded to an “assault in progress” call in the 1000 block of West 103rd Place. Police said they encountered an armed man and shot him. The suspect was taken in serious to critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, officials said.
At the same time the police confirmed that Bettie Jones was killed by accident, they also announced a major policy shift: All officers involved in shootings will be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days.
The new policy is a dramatic change from the current requirement that officers have to come off active duty for three days.
Even while acknowledging the woman's accidental shooting, police offered a scant narrative of what occurred at the two-flat in the 4700 block of West Erie Street. They did not say why the officer fired his weapon, whether the “combative subject” was armed at the time, or whether the officers had a Taser.
Questions were referred to the Independent Police Review Authority, which confirmed only that the shooting had occurred.
A recent investigative project by The Washington Post found that in the first half of the year, "police have shot and killed 124 people ... in the throes of a mental or emotional crisis." Like this case, many of those incidents happened when police responded to the calls of relatives or neighbors "worried that a mentally fragile person was behaving erratically."
Last month, the Chicago police released dashcam video showed a white police officer firing 16 times at 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, killing the teenager. The release of the video sparked near-daily protests, as we previously reported. Here's more:
"For more than a year, the department refused requests for the dashcam video to be released. Now, the officer behind the shooting has been charged with murder. Protesters have alleged that police attempted to cover up the shooting, and the Justice Department has launched a federal investigation into the Chicago police force's practices."