Chicago police were responding to a domestic disturbance call at a West Garfield Park home on Saturday morning, and fatally shot two unarmed people, 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones, a mother of five children.
— Jeremy Ross (@JeremyAdamRoss) December 26, 2015
The Chicago Tribune reports that a source claims that LeGrier was carrying a bat, threatening his father when the authorities were called. Relatives said LeGrier’s father made the call to Chicago police due to his son appearing to be quite frustrated and agitated. It seems LeGrier’s father was calling the police as a precaution due to his son’s unusual behavior.
Janet Cooksey, 49-years-old, was not present when the shooting occurred, but said, “his father was scared because that’s not his character.”
According to LeGrier’s relatives, the young Northern Illinois University student was studying engineering, but recently began struggling with issues of mental illness.
“I was praying with him because he wasn’t acting like himself,” said Quintonio LeGrier’s great-aunt, Betty Turner, 56-years-old.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) December 26, 2015
The other victim shot Saturday morning was identified as Bettie Jones, who lived in a two-flat directly where the shooting had taken place. Jones lives on the first floor while LeGrier’s father lives on the second floor. Bettie’s daughter, Latisha Jones, was asleep just before the shooting began with the sudden gunfire waking her up. She found her mother on the floor, with a bullet wound in her neck. When she put her hand up to Bettie’s face, she could still feel her breathing.
She wasn’t saying anything,” Jones said. “I had to keep checking for a pulse.”
Quintonio’s father told Latisha to look out for the police and to stay away from his son.
The officers who responded were told by a dispatcher that “male caller said someone is threatening his life. It’s also coming in as a domestic. The 19-year-old son is banging on his bedroom door with a baseball bat.”
According to a statement, the police officers “were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals.”
There was nothing else specified. But, according to a relative of 19-year-old LeGrier, the shooting occurred just as LeGrier was stepping out of the front door. At this point, it is unclear exactly how Jones was shot, she was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.
Jones and Cooksey were skeptical and critical of how Chicago police handled the situation. LeGrier’s mother was told that her son Quintonio was shot a total of seven times. Because he did not have a gun, and only a bat, one or two shots would have sufficed to put him down, Cooksey said. Much of her anger and heartache was aimed at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“You call the police, you try to get help and you lose a loved one. What are they trained for? Just to kill? I thought that we were supposed to get service and protection. I mean, my son was an honors student. He’s here for Christmas break, and now I’ve lost him. I’m trying to be strong because I pray. But that’s my only child. And I’m hurting. I’m hurting real bad.”
Ever since the video footage of the Chicago police officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald was released, Emanuel has been catching harsh criticism and some are even calling for him to resign.
Janet Cooksey questions if the police are just going to continue gunning down innocent, unarmed people or if they will finally get the protection they want and need. She specifically asked for Emanuel to deliver a personal apology for the loss of her son, not to deliver the message on the news or in a press conference, but rather in person.
While being able to admit that Quintonio was struggling with some mental health issues, Cooksey still feels that the reaction of the police was totally unnecessary.
According to Chicago police officials, the autopsy still needs to be completed before determining how many times Quintonio LeGrier was shot. Investigations are also taking place to figure out whether or not the authorities involved were aware of LeGrier’s mental issues.
Bettie Jones was the mother of one son and four daughters, she lived with her boyfriend in the first-floor apartment. According to family, several family members were at the apartment on Christmas Day, celebrating the holidays.
[Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images]