Chicago police officers opened fire while on a domestic violence call in the early hours of Saturday morning on the city’s West Side, killing two people, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Police issued a statement with scant details, but, according to a Tribune source, the victims were 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones.
The victims were occupants of a “two-flat” in West Garfield Park, with the LeGrier family occupying the second floor, and Jones occupying the first floor with her boyfriend.
LeGrier, an engineering student at Northern Illinois University who, family claim, had been suffering with mental illness, was allegedly threatening his father with a baseball bat at approximately 4:30 a.m., prompting the call to police.
According to the Tribune, the shooting appears to have occurred as LeGrier, exited the front door.
“They did tell me he was shot seven times. That a bit much. That’s a bit much,” said Janet Cooksey, LeGrier’s mother, who was not at the home at the time of the shooting. “I don’t take all of that. My son only weighed about 150 pounds. … Why do you have to be shot that many times? Why? If the police is trained in the field, then how, they’re just handling the situation by killing people?
“I thought that we were supposed to get service and protection,” Cooksey added. I mean, my son was an honors student. He’s here for Christmas break, and now I’ve lost him.”
It is still unclear how or why police shot Jones.
After hearing gunfire, her daughter, Latisha Jones, found her on the floor of their home with a gunshot wound to the neck.
“She wasn’t saying anything,” Jones said. “I had to keep checking for a pulse.”
Jones was rushed to the hospital where she later died.
In a statement on Facebook, Charlene Carruthers, National Director of the Black Youth Project, said that she is “livid, sad and devastated” by the news. “[Jones] is an Action Now Member and in the Chicago organizing community. All of them are ours, and she is definitely one of ours.”
Melvin Jones, 30, who said his mother had just enjoyed a beautiful Christmas surrounded by family and close friends, is in shock.
“You see it on the news and think that something needs to be done,” Jones said of the revolving door of police killings that have dominated media. “It really hits you and it just leaves you numb.”
It is unclear whether police knew that LeGrier was suffering with mental illness, or if officers attempted to use a Taser before opening fire.
Read more details at the Chicago Tribune.
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