A 13-year-old boy has been identified as a person shot dead by Chicago police on the city’s west side in what the department called an “armed confrontation”.
Adam Toledo died of a gunshot wound to his chest early on Monday, the Cook county medical examiner’s office said on Thursday.
Chicago police said an officer was responding to a scene where gunfire had been detected when the officer shot a suspect.
“He was so full of life,” said the boy’s mother, Elizabeth Toledo, who was surrounded by family. “They just took it away from him.”
Toledo said she last saw her son, who was in seventh grade, on Sunday during a gathering to remember a relative who died a few years ago. She said he would sneak out at night while she was asleep.
“I want to know what happened,” she said regarding how her son died. “I just want justice for my son. That’s all.”
Police said officers had been dispatched to the Little Village neighborhood on the city’s west side shortly after 2am after what is called ShotSpotter technology detected the sound of gunfire in the area.
“Officers observed two subjects in a nearby alley, one subject fled on foot” and the officers began chasing him, department spokesperson Tom Ahern said.
The officers chased the person into an alley behind Farragut Career Academy high school, where one officer shot him in the chest. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.
A handgun was recovered at the scene, police said. Also, Howard Ludwig, a spokesperson for the police department, said investigators are still trying to determine if the teen fired a gun at the officers before he was fatally shot.
Police said the other person who ran from police officers, Ruben Roman Jr, also of Chicago, was arrested on a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) is investigating the shooting and the officer or officers who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative duty for 30 days, both of which are routine in police shootings.
In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, COPA confirmed the details provided by the police department. It also said the shooting was captured by a police body camera but that COPA is prohibited by law from releasing the video “absent the issuance of a court order” because the boy who was shot was a minor.
Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, said on Twitter that it was important video footage of the shooting be shown first to the boy’s family and then the public as quickly as possible.
In statement issued on Thursday offering his condolences to the teen’s family, police superintendent David Brown, whose department has struggled to regain public trust in many Chicago neighborhoods, said the department was “adamantly” calling for the release of the body camera video.