Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she has ordered the police department to catch and prosecute the person who delivered the 13-year-old boy the gun he was carrying last week when he was shot dead by a police officer
Adam Toledo was shot in the chest after running from officers in the Little Village neighborhood shortly before noon. 3 on March 29th. He died on the spot and a gun was recovered.
“We’re finding the person who puts the gun in Adam’s hand,” Lightfoot said during a news conference in the West Side neighborhood. “An adult stuck a gun in a child’s hand, a young child who could be affected and who should not be provided with lethal force.”
Police Inspector David Brown and the department head of detectives will “use all resources to track the origin of this gun through tracking, fingerprints and DNA and other means,” Lightfoot said.
The Civilian Police Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the shooting, has said it will first release body camera footage of the shooting to the boy’s family and then the public.
According to police, officers were sent to Little Village after the department’s ShotSpotter technology detected the sound of eight gunshots. When they arrived, Toledo and a 21-year-old man ran away. During the hunt for the teenager, there was an “armed confrontation” in which the officer shot him once in the chest.
The 21-year-old man was arrested for a misdemeanor for resisting arrest.
The mayor and Brown, who also spoke at the press conference, declined to answer when asked if the boy fired at the officer before being shot in the chest.
But the mayor strongly suggested that the teenager may have been involved in gangs before that night, and that a gang member gave him the gun.
“Bands offer our most vulnerable and destroy these young minds with promises of familia and lucre,” she said.
“None of us should accept that we have adults here and everywhere in Chicago who are betting on vulnerable teenage boys,” and says it is everyone’s duty to give these children the love and support they need.
“That’s how we reduce the lure of gang life,” she said.
The mayor and chief inspector also addressed a recent “security alert for officers” within the department, warning officers that factions from a street gang had instructed members to shoot at unmarked Chicago Police vehicles in retaliation for teenage deaths.
“The danger to officers every day is real,” Lightfoot said, citing statistics showing that 79 officers in the city were fired last year compared to 22 the year before.
She said she hoped gang members would not “be foolish enough” to shoot at police. Brown also called for calm, pointing to a statement from the boy’s mother, Elizabeth Toledo over the weekend.
“Adam was a sweet and loving boy,” she said. “He did not want anyone else to be hurt or die in his name.”
Brown also explained why Adam’s age and name were only released a few days after his death, saying the man who was with Adam the night he was killed told police a fake name when asked to identify teenagers. Brown said Adam’s fingerprints did not match anyone in any police databases.
Brown said Adam had been stabbed at least twice in the days before his death. Adam’s mother reported that he was missing on March 26, but told police the following day that he had returned. Investigators searching for reports of recently closed missing persons reached out to Adam’s mother after the shooting, and she told them she had not seen him for “several days” but had not reported him missing again.
She identified his body Wednesday at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Lightfoot said the boy’s death would result in a new poaching policy, though she did not elaborate and only said police poaching is very dangerous for officers, those being persecuted and others in the area.
She promised that a new policy would be in place by the beginning of the summer.
Lawyers for Adam’s family said Monday night that they requested quick meetings with police to get evidence in the case and had not yet received a confirmed time to see police footage.
“We will not let the anguish and emotions of the moment interfere with our goal of obtaining facts,” said a joint statement from attorneys Adeena Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn. “We will address all public statements about the circumstances of Adam’s death once we are aware of the facts.”