Chicago police fatally shoot 13-year-old boy during 'armed confrontation'

"I just want justice for my son," the boy's mother said.

April 2, 2021, 7:41 PM

Chicago officials have revealed that the person who was fatally shot by an officer earlier this week during what police described as an "armed confrontation" was a 13-year-old boy.

"My greatest fear as the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department has been a deadly encounter between one of our own and a juvenile especially given the recent rise in violent crimes involving juveniles throughout the city," Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said in a statement Thursday. "Unfortunately, this fear became a reality earlier this week."

The incident unfolded in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood during the early hours of Monday, when officers responded to an alert of multiple gunshots and spotted two males in an alley. One of the individuals, who was allegedly armed, fled from the officers, leading to a foot pursuit followed by a confrontation, according to a preliminary statement from the Chicago Police Department.

One of the officers fired his weapon, striking the individual in the chest. A weapon was recovered and the individual was pronounced dead at the scene. The other male was apprehended and remains in custody, police said.

A 13-year-old boy was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in the Little Village neighborhood on March 29, 2021.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office later identified the deceased individual as 13-year-old Adam Toledo. The boy's mother, Elizabeth Toledo, also confirmed his death to Chicago ABC station WLS.

"He was so full of life," she told WLS. "They just took it away from him."

As she plans her son's funeral, the grieving mother said she wants to know "what happened."

"I just want answers," she said. "I just want justice for my son."

The Chicago Police Department did not release the boy's name or age because the superintendent said he did "not want to violate his privacy as a juvenile." The officer involved has been placed on routine administrative duty for 30 days, according to Brown.

Elizabeth Toledo speaks to ABC station WLS in Chicago on March 29, 2021.

The shooting is being investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), the civilian oversight agency of the Chicago Police Department.

"COPA is currently making every effort and researching all legal avenues that will allow for the public release of all video materials which capture the tragic fatal shooting of 13 year old Adam Toledo," the agency wrote on Twitter Thursday. "COPA has been in contact with the Toledo family and will provide the family a review of all video materials."

The Chicago Police Department "fully" supports the COPA investigation and "adamantly" calls for the release of "any and all video" related to the incident, including body-worn camera footage, according to the superintendent.

COPA announced in a statement Friday afternoon that they will release the body camera video and other material related to the shooting.

"COPA has determined that certain provisions of state law intended to protect the confidentiality of juvenile records do not prohibit the agency's release of material related to its investigation of a Chicago Police Officer's fatal shooting of 13-year old Adam Toledo," the statement said. "COPA's General Counsel concluded that the Juvenile Court Act does not bar publication of the body worn and third-party video camera footage the agency has obtained to date."

The agency did not say when it would be released.

"The split-second decision to use deadly force is extremely difficult for any officer," Brown said, "and is always a heavy burden to bear for officers involved in fatal shooting incidents."

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said "it is critically important that COPA release relevant videos first to the family, and then to the public, as quickly as possible, with appropriate protections, given his age." The mayor said "transparency and speed are crucial" because the boy's family and the public "will undoubtedly have many questions."

"As a mother of a 13-year-old myself, I can only imagine the incredible pain this boy's parents are experiencing at this moment," Lightfoot wrote on Twitter Thursday. "My heart goes out to them."

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