A Chicago police officer killed two when responding to a domestic violence call. One of the victims, Bettie Jones, was an innocent woman who opened the door to allow law enforcement inside. The other, Quintonio LeGrier, was a teen with a history of mental illness.
Anthony LeGrier, landlord of a West Garfield Park neighborhood building where he also lived upstairs, called the police and requested help because his son was beating on a bedroom door with a baseball bat early in the morning on Saturday, December 26.
The father then called Jones, 55, who lived downstairs, asking her to be on the look out for the police and also told her not to engage 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier.
— Jeremy Ross (@JeremyAdamRoss) December 26, 2015
The Chicago Police Department said officers responded to the call at about 4:30 a.m. and were “confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Police dispatchers reported that Quintonio LeGrier had threatened his father with the bat.
Upon investigation, no gun was recovered at the home. Family members said the landlord called Jones when the police arrived, and she answered the door in her nightgown after getting out of bed.
No one in the downstairs apartment witnessed the shooting, but family believes police shot through the door three times. Other members of the household pointed out bullet holes in the apartment door and another one in the daughter’s bedroom behind the front door. A statement was released to CPD offering condolences to Jones’ family.
“The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed. The department extends its deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends.”
Jones, a mother who had five children and six grandchildren, worked at the Alpha Baking bread factory, before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer earlier this year, noted a DNAInfo Chicago report. She was waiting for a clean bill of health, which would allow her to return to work. Her brother, Robin Andrews, said, “She was the kind of person who would come home after a 16-hour shift and then ask you if you needed anything… She was one of a kind like that.”
Quintonio LeGrier was an electrical engineering technology student at Northern Illinois University who struggled with mental health issues. In 2014, he graduated from Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy and was an honor roll student, both in high school and college.
LeGrier’s father said his son was home on winter break and described the teen as a “whiz kid” who spent much of his childhood in foster care. This past Thanksgiving, the elder LeGrier said he had his son admitted to a hospital where medication was prescribed to deal with issues.
Per the Chicago Sun Times, the mother, Janet Cooksey, brought Quintonio LeGrier to his father’s building on Friday morning. The father invited the son to a holiday gathering, but the son declined, and opted to stay in his father’s second floor apartment.
Cooksey stated she is angry and wants a personal apology from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. She asked, “When is this going to stop? My son wasn’t a thug on the street or a violent person.”
Families of two people killed by Chicago police seek answers: ‘When does it end?’ https://t.co/CqA7OwZSSr
— The Guardian (@guardian) December 27, 2015
Families of both victims are looking for answers, and one of the questions is why a taser was not used on LeGrier. The officer who fatally wounded Jones and LeGrier will be placed on administrative duty for 30 days pending an investigation, which an independent review board is conducting. This is the new protocol for police shootings, which was implemented by interim Police Superintendent John Escalante, added DNAInfo Chicago. The interim superintendent assumed the position when Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired after a cover up in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Protests and calls for Emanuel’s resignation were part of the fallout after details in the McDonald shooting were disclosed. The last protest, an attempt to disrupt last minute shopping and block traffic, was on December 24 in Chicago’s downtown Magnificent Mile shopping district.
[Image: Joshua Lott via Getty Images]