Chicago police officer fatally shoots black college student, mother of five

Police did not immediately disclose the race of the officer, nor how long the officer has been with the department or the officer's current work status.

By: AP | Chicago | Published: December 27, 2015 9:07 am
chicago shooting, chicago firing, chicago police firing, A Chicago police sergeant speaks with a relative of a man who was killed by a police officer in the West Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago, early Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. (Source: AP)

A Chicago police officer shot and killed two people early Saturday while responding to a domestic disturbance call on the city’s West Side, police said.

The shootings happened around 4:25 am after officers who responded to the call “were confronted by a combative subject,” the Chicago Police Department said in a statement. The medical examiner’s office and family members said Quintonio Legrier, a 19-year-old college student, was pronounced dead at a hospital at 4:51 am, and Bettie Jones, a 55-year-old mother of five who was Legrier’s neighbor, died at a different hospital at 5:14 am.

Both Legrier and Jones were black, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Police did not immediately disclose the race of the officer, nor how long the officer has been with the department or the officer’s current work status.

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The Chicago Police Department is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation, which came after the release of a video showing white officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. Van Dyke faces six counts of first-degree murder and one of official misconduct in the death of McDonald and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. Officials have said the investigation will look into patterns of racial disparity in the use of force and review how the department disciplines officers and handles misconduct accusations.

Legrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, told the Chicago Tribune that her son had a bat and had been dealing with mental issues, but said police didn’t have to react the way they did.

“We’re thinking the police are going to service us, take him to the hospital. They took his life,” said Cooksey, who was not present at the time of the shooting.

She said Legrier was studying engineering at Northern Illinois University. She said he had graduated from Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago and “was going somewhere.”

It is not clear from the police statement if either Legrier or Jones were armed or if there are any video recordings of the incident. Autopsies were not scheduled Saturday, medical examiner’s office spokeswoman Becky Schlikerman said.

Chicago police referred requests for additional comment to the Independent Police Review Authority, the city’s main police oversight agency. IPRA spokesman Larry Merritt confirmed Saturday that the agency was investigating an officer-involved shooting but said he couldn’t release any further details and that it was “very early on in the investigation.”

The release of the McDonald shooting video led to protests, the forced resignation of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and calls from residents for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down.

Cooksey said she wants a personal apology from Emanuel for what happened to Legrier, her only child.

“Are we gonna get protected or is the police just gonna keep taking lives?” Cooksey said. “I mean, who’s gonna answer these questions?”

Emanuel’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Melvin Jones, the brother of the woman killed Saturday, told the Tribune his sister had celebrated Christmas at her apartment Friday with about 15 other relatives. He said she “had an excellent Christmas.”

He said Bettie Jones lived in a first-floor apartment with her boyfriend and was the mother of four daughters and a son. Her children range in age from 19 to 38. They include 19-year-old twins.

“There are so many questions and no answers,” Melvin Jones said. “I’m numb right now. Right now there’s a whole lot of anger, a whole lot of tears. … I don’t have time to feel. I have a funeral to prepare.”

 

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