Sunday 4 December 2016

Chicago police officer accidentally shoots woman dead, as teen is also killed

Press Association

Published 27/12/2015 | 08:11

Melvin Jones, facing camera, hugs Robin Andrews, both brothers of Bettie Jones, 55, in Jones' living room after she was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. A Chicago police officer shot and killed Jones and a man while responding to a domestic disturbance call in the neighborhood on the city's West Side, police said. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)
Melvin Jones, facing camera, hugs Robin Andrews, both brothers of Bettie Jones, 55, in Jones' living room after she was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. A Chicago police officer shot and killed Jones and a man while responding to a domestic disturbance call in the neighborhood on the city's West Side, police said. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)

A Chicago police officer responding to a domestic disturbance call accidentally shot and killed a 55-year-old woman, who was among two people fatally wounded.

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Relatives said Bettie Jones lived downstairs from Quintonio LeGrier, the 19-year-old subject of the initial call to police, who also was killed by the officer.

Officers who responded to the call "were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer's weapon," the Chicago Police Department said.

"The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed," it said, extending "deepest condolences to the victim's family and friends".

A Chicago police sergeant speaks with a relative of a man who was killed by a police officer in the West Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago, early Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. A Chicago police officer shot and killed two people while responding to a domestic disturbance call in the neighborhood on the city's West Side, police said. (Megan Crepeau/Chicago Tribune via AP)
A Chicago police sergeant speaks with a relative of a man who was killed by a police officer in the West Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago, early Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. A Chicago police officer shot and killed two people while responding to a domestic disturbance call in the neighborhood on the city's West Side, police said. (Megan Crepeau/Chicago Tribune via AP)

The shooting happened around 4:25am local time on Saturday, police said.

The Cook County medical examiner's office and family members said Mr LeGrier, a college student, was pronounced dead at a hospital at 4:51am. and Ms Jones, a mother of five, died at a different hospital a short time later.

Both were black, the medical examiner's office said. Police did not immediately disclose the race of the officer.

The shooting comes amid a civil rights investigation of the police department launched after last month's release of video showing white officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014.

Officials have said the investigation will look into patterns of racial disparity in the use of force, as well as review how the department disciplines officers and handles misconduct accusations.

It is not clear whether there are any video recordings of Saturday's shootings.

Mr LeGrier's father told the Chicago Sun-Times he had invited his son to a family holiday gathering before the shooting but the younger man chose not to go.

Antonio LeGrier said when he returned to his second-floor flat early on Saturday, his son appeared to be a "little agitated".

He said he heard loud banging on his locked bedroom door around 4:15am and that his son said: "You're not going to scare me."

The father said he called Ms Jones, who lived a floor below, and warned her that his son was a "little irate" and not to open the door unless police arrived. He said she told him she saw his son outside with a baseball bat.

When police arrived, Antonio LeGrier said he heard Ms Jones yell: "Whoa, Whoa Whoa!"

He said he heard gunshots as he made his way down from the second floor and then saw his son and Ms Jones lying in the foyer.

Mr LeGrier said police later told him that his son was shot seven times, and that he had called 911 before his father did.

He said his son had emotional problems after spending most of his childhood in foster care. "Did it warrant him getting shot and killed? I don't believe it," the elder LeGrier said.

The teenager's mother, Janet Cooksey, told the Chicago Tribune police did not have to react the way they did.

"We're thinking the police are going to service us, take him to the hospital. They took his life," said Ms Cooksey, who was not present at the time of the shooting.

Bettie Jones' brother, Melvin Jones, told the Tribune his sister celebrated "an excellent" Christmas at her flat on Friday with about 15 other relatives.

He said she lived there with her boyfriend and was the mother of four daughters and a son ranging in age from 19 to 38.

"There are so many questions and no answers," Melvin Jones said.

"I'm numb right now. Right now there's a whole lot of anger, a whole lot of tears ... I don't have time to feel. I have a funeral to prepare."

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