Death never takes a holiday and, sadly, that saying rang doubly true in Chicago over the weekend when a police officer fatally shot a mother of five and a college student.
According to the Chicago Police Department, 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier was shot and killed when an officer responding to a “domestic disturbance” encountered the “combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals.” Fifty-five-year-old Bettie Jones, LeGrier’s downstairs neighbor who opened the door when police arrived, was “accidentally struck and tragically killed” during the encounter, NBC news reports.
According to police dispatch radio traffic obtained by the Chicago Tribune, LeGrier was carrying a baseball bat and threatening his father when police were called. The engineering student is said to have struggled with mental health issues in recent months and had become agitated when he began carrying around a metal bat and banging on his father’s bedroom with it.
“His father was scared because that’s not his character,” according LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, who was not present at the time of the shooting. She said her family was told her son was shot seven times though the police department said it is still awaiting autopsy results to determine how many times LeGrier was shot.
“Seven times he was shot. He didn’t have a gun. He had a bat. One or two times would have brought him down.
“You call the police, you try to get help and you lose a loved one,” she said. “What are they trained for? Just to kill? I thought that we were supposed to get service and protection. I mean, my son was an honor student. He’s here for Christmas break, and now I’ve lost him.
“Emanuel, I want a personal apology for my son’s life,” Cooksey said referring to the city’s mayor. “I don’t want you to get on the news and say you’re so … I want a personal apology.”
A relative of the teen told the Tribune it appears he came to the front door as officers pulled up. Jones’ relatives believe she was behind LeGrier, near the entrance to her apartment, which was how the mother of four daughters and one son was fatally wounded in the encounter. The Police Department have yet to say where the victims were standing when they were shot. They also haven’t said how many officers were involved in the shooting, but noted those who responded were put on administrative duty for 30 days and the incident would be investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority.