A Chicago police officer fatally shot a 19-year-old black man and a 55-year-old black woman — who may have been a bystander — early Saturday morning while responding to a domestic disturbance, officials said.
The shooting is certain to draw scrutiny, not only amid the national discussion about police treatment of African-Americans, but also in a city whose police department is facing a Justice Department investigation after a white officer shot a black teenager 16 times in 2014.
Police did not identify the officer who fired the shots Saturday or disclose his race. The man who was killed was identified as Quintonio Legrier and the woman as Bettie Jones, both of Chicago.
— Jeremy Ross (@JeremyAdamRoss) December 26, 2015
As officers were called to the scene at about 4:25 a.m., a police dispatcher described a 19-year-old individual with a baseball bat, according to an audio recording.
— Christopher Smith (@chrissmith) December 26, 2015
Local media outlets quoted sources as saying that Legrier was brandishing a metal baseball bat in a confrontation with his father. A police statement said only that officers encountered a “combative subject.”
The most vague statement I've ever seen CPD release after a police shooting. Gotta think Laquan changed things. pic.twitter.com/kWGOohbSNq
— Sam Charles (@samjcharles) December 26, 2015
Legrier’s mother also told reporters that her son, who was studying engineering at Northern Illinois University, was having “mental issues.” But he would “get loud, but not violent,” Janet Cooksey said of her son.
“My son has seven bullet wounds in him,” Cooksey told WLS-TV. “That’s too much.”
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) December 26, 2015
Jones was described as a downstairs neighbor of Legrier’s in their apartment building on the city’s West Side. She had five children and had just celebrated Christmas the previous day in her apartment with relatives, her brother told the Chicago Tribune.
It’s not clear how Jones was shot. Her daughter, Latisha Jones, told the Tribune that she was awoken by gunfire and found her mother with a gunshot wound to the neck. “She wasn’t saying anything,” Jones said. “I had to keep checking for a pulse.”
Jones and Legrier were pronounced dead at two hospitals after the shooting.
Police said the shooting is under investigation and the case has been referred to the city’s main police oversight agency.
Independent Police Review Authority spokesman Larry Merritt confirmed Saturday that the agency was investigating an officer-involved shooting but had no further information.
There were no immediate reports of video recordings of the shooting. On Wednesday, Chicagoannounced it would expand its program of body cameras worn by officers, but not to the 11th district, where the shooting occurred.
Amid the recent upheaval in the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Chicago’s police superintendent and has pledged to reform the department, but protesters have not stopped their calls for the mayor’s resignation. They say Emanuel and other city officials run a system designed to shield police from citizen complaints, which lets officers act with impunity.
More than a year after the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, former officer Jason Van Dykewas charged with first-degree murder last month. The Justice Department investigation came after the release of a video that purportedly shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times.