Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she ordered the police department to capture and bring to justice whoever provided the 13-year-old boy with the pistol he was carrying last week when a police officer fatally shot him.
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday she ordered the Chicago Police Department to capture and bring to justice the man who gave a 13-year-old boy the gun he was carrying last week when a police officer fatally shot him.
Adam Toledo was shot in the chest after fleeing from officers in the Little Village neighborhood shortly before 3 a.m. on March 29. He died at the scene and a weapon was recovered.
“We will find the person who put the gun in Adam’s hand,” Lightfoot said during a news conference in the West Side neighborhood. “An adult put a gun in the hand of a child, an impressionable toddler who should not be given lethal force.”
Police Superintendent David Brown and the department’s chief of detectives “will use every resource to trace the origins of this weapon through tracing, fingerprints and DNA and any other means,” Lightfoot said.
The Civil Police Responsibility Office, which is investigating the shooting, has said it will release body camera images from the shooting first to the boy’s family and then to the public.
According to police, the officers were dispatched to Little Village after the department’s ShotSpotter technology detected the sound of eight gunshots. When they arrived, Toledo and a 21-year-old fled. While he was chasing the teenager, there was an “armed confrontation” during which the officer shot him once in the chest.
The 21-year-old was arrested for a misdemeanor offense of resisting arrest.
The mayor and Brown, who also spoke at the press conference, declined to respond when asked if the boy shot the officer before being shot in the chest.
But the mayor strongly suggested that the teen may have been involved in gangs before that night and that a gang member gave him the gun.
“Gangs are preying on our most vulnerable, corrupting these young minds with promises of family and profit,” he said.
“None of us should accept that there are adults here and throughout Chicago who prey on vulnerable teens,” saying that it is everyone’s duty to give these children the love and support they need.
“This is how we diminish the charm of gang life,” he said.
The mayor and superintendent also addressed a recent “officer safety alert” within the department that warned officers that factions of a street gang had instructed members to shoot unmarked Chicago police vehicles in retaliation for the death of the adolescent.
“The danger to officers every day is real,” Lightfoot said, citing statistics that show 79 officers in the city were fired last year compared to 22 the year before.
He said he hoped the gang members weren’t “dumb enough” to shoot the police. Brown also urged calm, pointing to a statement made by the boy’s mother, Elizabeth Toledo over the weekend.
“Adam was a sweet and loving boy,” she said. “He would not want anyone else to be injured or killed in his name.”
Brown also explained why Adam’s age and name were not released until a few days after his death, saying that the man who was with Adam the night he was killed told police a false name when he was killed. asked him to identify the teenager. Brown said Adam’s fingerprints did not match any of the police databases.
Brown said Adam had escaped at least twice in the days leading up to his death. Adam’s mother reported him missing on March 26, but the next day she told police that he had returned. Investigators investigating the recently closed missing persons reports contacted Adam’s mother after the shooting and she told them that she had not seen him in “several days” but had not returned to report him missing.
She identified his body Wednesday at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Lightfoot said the boy’s death would result in a new foot chase policy, though he did not elaborate, saying only that police foot chases are highly dangerous to officers, the pursued and others in the area.
He promised that a new policy would be implemented before the start of the summer.
Attorneys for Adam’s family said Monday night that they were requesting expedited meetings with the police to obtain evidence in the case and that they had not yet received a confirmed time to view the police footage.
“We will not allow the anguish and excitement of the moment to interfere with our objective of obtaining the facts,” said a joint statement from attorneys Adeena Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn. “We will address all public statements regarding the circumstances of Adam’s death once we have the facts before us.”