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Armed Suspect Fatally Shot By Police Is Identified As 13-Year-Old Boy, Family Calls Shooting ‘Unreasonable’

Chicago, IL – The family of an armed 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot during an encounter with Chicago police on Monday said the officer’s conduct was “unreasonable” and that they plan to “seek justice for this reprehensible crime.”

Elizabeth Toledo, 44, the mother of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, said her son often snuck out of their home and that she ended up filing a missing person’s report on him after he took off again on March 25, WLS reported.

She said Adam Toledo returned home two days later, but that he was gone again by the night of March 28.

It is unclear if Elizabeth Toledo reported him as missing on March 28.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) were responding to a ShotSpotter alert at approximately 2:35 a.m. on March 29, when they encountered two males, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

One of the males, later identified as Adam Toledo, was armed with a handgun and took off running, according to police.

During the ensuing “armed confrontation” in the alley west of the 2300-block of South Sawyer Avenue, one of the officers fired a single round, hitting Adam Toledo in the chest, police said.

He died from his wounds at the scene, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The CPD shared a photo of the handgun the teen had allegedly been carrying at the time of the shooting.

Elizabeth Toledo identified her son at the morgue two days later after she filed a missing person report with police, according to the paper.

The second suspect who fled from officers during the encounter was identified as 21-year-old Ruben Roman.

He has been arrested on a charge of misdemeanor resisting arrest, WLS reported.

According to court records, Roman was previously convicted of illegal gun possession and was sentenced to probation in 2019, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Elizabeth Toledo and her family said in a statement that it was “unreasonable” for the CPD officer to use deadly force against Adam Toledo, WLS reported.

“He did not deserve to die the way he did,” the family said. “The Toledo Family will seek justice for this reprehensible crime.”

Elizabeth Toledo told WLS she wants “justice” for her son and “answers” from police.

“Why did he shoot at him if there’s other ways?” she asked. “He was so full of life. They just took it away from him…He was a little boy. Obviously, he was gonna get scared.”

“He wanted to be a cop when he grew up,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times. “And next thing you know, a cop took his life.”

The officer who shot Adam Toledo has been placed on desk duty for at least the next 30 days while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) investigates the incident, WLS reported.

Due to Adam Toledo’s age, COPA cannot release bodycam footage from the incident without a court order.

“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,” they said in a statement.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has also called for the bodycam footage to be released “as soon as possible,” WLS reported.

“As a mother of a thirteen-year-old myself, I can only imagine the incredible pain this boy’s parents are experiencing at this moment. My heart goes out to them,” Lightfoot said. “The facts and the circumstances around this case are under investigation, but we must ask ourselves how our social safety net failed this boy leading to the tragic events in the early hours of Monday morning.”

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said the officer-involved shooting of a juvenile has long been his greatest fear, WLS reported.

“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 our city,” Superintendent Brown said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this fear became a reality earlier this week. Any loss of life is tragic, especially when it involves youth.”

He extended his condolences to the teen’s family, but did not name him because he didn’t want to “violate his privacy as a juvenile.”

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

“We fully support the investigation being conducted by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), and adamantly call for the release of any and all video, including body-worn camera footage, related to the incident, as permitted by laws pertaining to juveniles,” he said.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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