“This is a tragedy. The most tragic of circumstances. We will not make it worse by passing judgment,” said Supt. Brown said Monday.
He said one of his biggest fears was “a fatal encounter between one of our officers and a minor,” amid the recent spike in violent crime involving Chicago youth.
“This fear became a reality on March 29, 2021 with the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo,” he said.
At around 2:30 a.m. last Monday, Chicago police were responding to a ShotSpotter alert of eight shots when they came across Toledo and a 21-year-old man in an alley near 24th and Sawyer in Little Village. They say a foot chase ensued and during an “armed confrontation” an officer shot Toledo in the chest.
A vigil in memory of Toledo was held in the Little Village district on Monday afternoon.
“We are here today to stand in solidarity with Adam’s family and our community, to cry and pray together,” said Jacqueline Herrera, Director of Violence Prevention at Enlace Chicago. “He had a great imagination and curiosity since he was a baby. Adam was 13 years old. He still had a busy life ahead of him.”
WATCH | Vigil held to remember 13-year-old boy shot dead by Chicago police
Toledo wanted to be a police officer, but Lightfoot said on Monday the teenager fell victim to gang lure.
“I had the privilege of speaking briefly with Ms. Toledo,” said Lightfoot. “I called her to offer my condolences and help with whatever she needs. She was as you might expect, overwhelmed with emotion and deeply distressed.”
COPA is currently investigating and arranging for the mother to watch the body camera video before releasing it publicly.
The family calls for peace after gangs reportedly called for police cars to be shot in retaliation.
The mayor has now ordered an immediate review of the police foot pursuit policy. It also promises justice.
WATCH | Supt. Brown provides update on fatal shooting of 13-year-old boy by Little Village police
Police shared a photo of a gun that was reportedly recovered from the scene.
“Our officers have to make split-second decisions regarding the use of lethal force and that’s a heavy burden,” said the Chicago Police Superintendent. David Brown said.
A second suspect, Ruben Roman, 21, is charged in the incident with a felony for resisting an officer. A source told ABC 7 Chicago Roman is a known gang member.
“We will not tolerate [gangs] use our children’s pawns and prepare them for a life of misery … that’s where we have to, have to draw the line, ”Lightfoot said Monday.
The mayor promised Monday to find out who is responsible for handing over a gun to the young teenager.
“I am determined,” said Lightfoot. “We will find the person who put this gun in Adam’s hand. We will not be deterred by threats from gang members. An adult must be responsible for putting this gun in this child’s hand.”
An attorney for the Toledo family released a statement saying, in part, “… want to correct the bad and misrepresentation of Adam as a lonely street kid who had no one to turn to. This is just not true. Adam was a loved and supported 13 year old boy. He lived with his mother, 90 year old grandfather and two of his siblings. His father was in his life. They all loved him very much. … Adam was not alone. “
Pastor Matt DeMateo, whose New Life Church works with children at risk, stood alongside his 13-year-old son, who attended school with Toledo. They were also neighbors.
“We have lost a son, a neighbor, a student, and there are no winners in this situation,” he said.
Locals said they invited the Police Commander to Little Village on Tuesday night for a peaceful community conversation.
WATCH | Mayor Lightfoot provides update on fatal shooting of 13-year-old boy by Little Village police
“Adam was a good boy. He had no criminal history, he went to Gary Elementary School. He shared time with his four siblings and all we know is that he was shot, “Toledo family lawyer Adeena Weiss-Ortiz said.
“Officers have to make a split second decision regarding the use of force and that is a heavy burden,” Brown said.
Toledo’s mother said he used to sneak up at night while she slept and filed a missing person report for her son on the Thursday before the shooting after noticing he was missing. She told ABC7 that Toledo finally returned on Saturday, but left on Sunday night.
The boy’s family released a statement last week claiming that Toledo’s mother was not notified of her son’s death until two days after the fatal shooting.
Brown addressed this Monday, saying Toledo had no identification with him at the time of his death and that Roman had provided police with a false name, which had made it difficult to identify the boy.
After examining the missing persons cases, including some who had returned home, investigators found a report with a description they said sounded like Toledo. The teenager’s mother was then notified and confirmed that it was her son, Brown said.
Brown also pledged the department’s full cooperation during the COPA investigation.
WATCH | Mother calls for justice for 13-year-old son killed by police
Elizabeth, Toledo’s mother, said he aspired to one day become a police officer.
“He was so full of life,” she says. “They just took it off.”
The Civilian Police Accountability Office is expected to release a video of the body camera shot this week after it was viewed by the family.
Last week, the agency released a statement saying: “COPA has determined that certain provisions in state law designed to protect the confidentiality of juvenile records do not prohibit the agency from disclosing documents related to its investigation into the fatal shooting of a police officer in Chicago on 13-year-old Adam Toledo. COPA’s general counsel concluded that the juvenile court law does not prohibit the publication of the carried body and third-party video camera footage that the agency has obtained to date. COPA will therefore follow established City policy, which requires the public display of material as soon as possible, but no later than 60 days after the incident. COPA is currently working with the Toledo family and their representative to organize a review of the disturbing video footage. Once again, our condolences go out to the Toledo family during this difficult time. ”
WATCH | Family of Adam Toledo, teenager killed by CPD in Little Village speak out
The family are waiting to see body camera video from the shoot next week before deciding to file a potential complaint.
The officer involved in the shooting was assigned to the office for 30 days while the Civilian Police Accountability Office investigates the shooting, police said.
FULL DECLARATION OF THE TOLEDO FAMILY
The family of Adam Toledo appreciates the personal and public condolences expressed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, Pastor Matt DeMateo of New Life Community Church Little Village and others who have extended the call to them. hand in this time of excruciating grief.
We are concerned about the presumptions, implications and statements made today which are not supported by the facts made public so far regarding what happened on March 29, 2021. We are unable to refute or respond to these statements until we have obtained the evidence, which so far is only known to the police.
We are working diligently to learn the truth about what happened in the early morning of March 29 when Adam’s life was so tragically interrupted by a police bullet. We have requested expedited meetings with relevant authorities to obtain evidence and review camera footage of the police body and other available videos. To date, we have not received a confirmation of an hour to view the images. We are not going to let the angst and emotion of the moment interfere with our goal of getting the facts. We will address any public statements about the circumstances of Adam’s death once we have the facts in front of us.
We do, however, want to correct the misrepresentation of Adam as a lonely street child with no one to turn to. This is simply not true. Adam was a loved and supported 13 year old boy. He lived with his mother, his 90-year-old grandfather and two of his siblings. Her father was in her life. They all liked him very much. The Toledo family is a close-knit family. They take care of each other. Adam attended Gary Elementary School where he had the support of his teachers and classmates. Adam was not alone.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All rights reserved.