A nineteen-year-old engineering student and a 55-year-old mother of five were shot and killed by Chicago police answering an emergency report of a domestic disturbance — but the incident already echoes a spate of impossible-to-justify killings at the hands of Chicago PD. Relatives and friends of the two victims, as well as a fed-up public, are justifiably calling the suspicious circumstances of the killings into question, especially as answers from police have been difficult to come by.
According to police, officers responding to the West Garfield Park residence around 4:30 am were “confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals” — as if the weapon chose to pull its own trigger. Police say Quintonio LeGrier was threatening his father and carrying a baseball bat when they were called to the scene; though no gun was recovered, nor was there mention of any other lethal weapon found on the premises.
Bettie Jones was LeGrier’s father’s downstairs neighbor, and as he had requested, was awaiting the cops’ arrival. Chicago police admit her death was unintentional, but have not given any information on how, exactly, she ended up their victim. “The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed,” police said in a statement. “The department extends its deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends.”
Though there remains a dearth of information — and a notable lack of comment from Fraternal Order of Police spokesman, Pat Camden, who has given statements about police shootings on-scene for years when they occur — the facts which are being divulged leave only doubt about what actually happened.
It is unclear whether LeGrier threatened officers’ lives at the scene, or whether he was even armed at the time police shot and killed him. Police have also not said if they had less lethal options available at the time, such as Tasers.“I don’t feel that his life was worth losing because he got upset,” Antonio LeGrier, the student’s father, lamented.
Even fewer answers have been given in explanation of Jones’ death, though relatives say the mother of four daughters and one son had recently taken leave from work due to an ongoing battle with ovarian cancer. “She was already sick,” said her youngest brother, Robin Andrews. “She was already fighting for her life.”
Latisha Jones, 19, woke up to gunfire — and found her mother on the floor of the apartment, with a gunshot wound in her neck.“She wasn’t saying anything,” said Bettie’s daughter. “I had to keep checking for a pulse.”
LeGrier’s family said Quintonio had been having some mental health issues, for which they planned to hospitalize him once the holidays were over, “and now, we are not given that chance,” said his mother, Janet Cooksey.
“Seven times he was shot. He didn’t have a gun,” she pleaded. “He had a bat. One or two times would have brought him down.”
She also demanded a personal apology from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is currently in Cuba on vacation. In a statement Saturday night, Emanuel said, “Anytime an officer uses force, the public deserves answers, and regardless of the circumstances, we all grieve anytime there is a loss of life in our city.”
Emanuel’s statement of supposed condolence rings hollow for an epidemic number of victims of the Chicago Police Department — as evidenced in a number of questionable, and possibly criminal, incidents reported by The Free Thought Project.
“You call the police, you try to get help and you lose a loved one,” Cooksey said. “What are they trained for? Just to kill? I thought 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.”