13-year-old boy killed by officer after what police called an ‘armed confrontation’David Struetton April 1, 2021 at 8:28 pm

The approximate location where Chicago police killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo, in an alley way near 24th and Sawyer, Thursday, April 1, 2021. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The boy was identified as Adam Toledo by the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Police shot and killed a 13-year-old boy after what officials described as an “armed confrontation” in Little Village early Monday, although no video and few details have been released so far.

Adam Toledo, 13, who lived in the neighborhood, was shot in his chest and later died, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

In a statement, police said officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert about 2:35 a.m. and saw two males standing in an alley in the Southwest Side neighborhood.

One person, who was allegedly armed, ran from the scene and was shot by a police officer during an “armed confrontation” in the 2300 block of South Spaulding Avenue, police said. Farragut Career Academy High School is located at the end of the block.

That person, later identified as Adam, died at the scene, police said. An autopsy found he died of a gunshot wound to his chest.

Police shared a photo of a gun allegedly recovered at the scene.

The other person who ran from police, 21-year-old Ruben Roman Jr. of Edgewater, was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, police said. In 2019, Roman pleaded guilty to illegal gun possession stemming from an arrest in Evanston and was sentenced to probation, court records show.

‘Very disheartening’

On Thursday, on the residential block in front of the alley where the shooting took place earlier in the week, residents gathered for a yard sale and formed a line along 24th Street near Sawyer, where a local church was holding a food drive.

A surveillance video taken from a camera on United Methodist Church, which is at the corner of 24th and Sawyer, caught flashes of light from the shooting and additional police officers as they arrived on the scene. However, neither the officer who fired the shots nor Adam could be seen in the video.

The church pastor said his son heard the gunshots but they did not witness the incident.

Many at the food drive expressed shock to hear that the person gunned down by police behind their homes was a 13-year-old boy.

Nakia Smith, a mother of a 13-year-old boy herself, said she heard gunshots on early that morning, followed moments later by a swarm of blue lights.

“It’s very disheartening, especially with what happened a year ago, with the [Derek] Chauvin trial and everything,” Smith said, referring to the Minneapolis officer who is currently on trial in the murder of George Floyd. “And then Monday morning, come to find out it was a 13-year-old boy killed … it’s just quite a bit.”

She added: “I do understand that the police don’t always know what someone is going to do, but there has to be a better way.”

Meanwhile, Rafael Hurtado Jr., 30 — who lives a few houses down from where Adam lived about a mile and a half away — called the incident tragic and urged CPD to release any footage related to the shooting.

“It’s hard to take CPDs word for it” that he was armed, he said. “Especially with everything that’s been going on with the police shootings in other places.”

He said that “it’s tragic for everyone involved, for the family, for the kid because he was so young and for the officer who pulled the trigger.”

A weapon was recovered after person was shot by police and another was arrested March 29. 2021 in Little Village.
Chicago police
Police released this photo, which they said was a weapon recovered after a person was shot by police and another was arrested March 29. 2021 in Little Village.

Officer on desk duty; no video released

The officer in Monday’s incident was placed on desk duty for 30 days while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates the shooting, police said.

The shooting was captured by body-worn camera, but it wasn’t immediately clear if investigators would release it, COPA said in a statement Thursday.

COPA is required to release body camera video of police shootings within 60 days of the incident, but policy prohibits them from sharing video if the victim is under 18 years old. Absent a court order, the video would not be released, COPA said.

However, investigators will release other evidence including 911 calls, police reports and radio transmissions within 60 days, COPA said.

Two other people have been shot by Chicago police officers this week. Early Wednesday, an officer fatally shot an armed man in Portage Park after officers chased the man on foot. An officer fired shots after the man allegedly pulled out a gun in the 5200 block of West Eddy Street, police said.

Less than an hour later, an off-duty Chicago police officer shot someone breaking into their home in Albany Park on the Northwest Side. The officer shot the man in his face about 12:55 a.m. as the man broke into the officer’s home in the 3100 block of Belle Plaine Avenue, police said. The man was rushed in serious condition to Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Contributing: Cindy Hernandez, Frank Main

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