It was a violent Thanksgiving week in Chicago for law enforcement with four police-involved shootings in a ten day stretch.
Friday, Nov. 18 — West Englewood (South Side)
It was just before midnight the Friday before Thanksgiving when officers witnessed 26-year-old Darius Jones shooting at a man in the 2000 block of West 69th Street on the city’s South Side. According to police, the officers pulled over, got out of their car, and told Jones to drop his weapon. A police spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that Jones was still shooting at the man at that point. When Jones didn’t drop his weapon, one of the officers opened fire, hitting Jones, who was pronounced dead at a hospital less than an hour later.
Police recovered a gun at the scene. Jones’ alleged victim, a 26-year-old man, was hit in the abdomen and survived. No officers were injured.
The officer who fired was placed on 30-day leave as the Independent Police Review Authority investigates. An IPRA spokeswoman said if the incident was recorded, the video will be released within 60 days.
Wednesday, Nov. 23 — West Englewood (South Side)
About a mile away, and a few days later, another police involved shooting, this time on a battery call in the 1400 block of West 65th. Police say a sergeant arrived on the scene and started chasing a man who fit the attacker’s description. The sergeant told investigators that 19-year-old Kajuan Raye turned around and pointed a gun at the sergeant twice during a foot chase. That’s when the sergeant opened fire, killing Raye.
Police used a grid search, but no gun was recovered at the scene. Raye died of a gunshot wound to the back, and the Cook County medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. In a Thanksgiving day news conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced he was stripping the unnamed sergeant of his police powers.
“Having been a police officer for 28 years, I know that this job is not easy and the decision to use force is extremely complex and must be made in seconds without the benefits of formal reviews and deliberations,” said Johnson. “However, based on the little information we know at this point, I have concerns about this incident and feel this decision is in the best interest of the department and the people of Chicago as we await a methodical and impartial investigation into exactly what transpired.”
The sergeant wasn’t injured in the incident. Chicago police don’t wear body cameras in the 7th District, but an IPRA spokeswoman said they’re looking for witnesses to aid in their investigation.
Friday, Nov. 25 — Homan Square (West Side)
As Thanksgiving became Black Friday, and shoppers hunted for deals, officers on the West Side saw a shooting in progress in the 600 block of South Central Park Avenue. Police say 37-year-old Cleotha Mitchell was shooting at two people just after midnight.
“Officers while on patrol in the 11th District heard shots fired — responded to the scene of Harrison and Central Park and saw a subject standing over another subject shooting. The officers exited their vehicle, engaged that offender, and fatally shot him,” said Chicago Police First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro, according to WLS-TV in Chicago.
Police recovered a gun at the scene. One of Mitchell’s alleged victims, 35-year-old Jeffery J. Banks, was killed in the incident. The other victim was shot in the arm. No officers were injured.
The officers involved in the shooting were placed on desk duty for 30 days, and IPRA is investigating.
Sunday, Nov. 27 — West Garfield Park (West Side)
As the media was tallying up citywide weekend violence numbers Sunday night (68 shot, eight of them fatal), Chicago police shot and killed a fourth person in nine days.
Police say 33-year-old Richard Grimes shot his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach Sunday night in the 11th District. Officers arrived around 11:30 p.m. in the 4600 block of West Adams and were met with Grimes, who began shooting at police. Officers established a perimeter, and Grimes again shot at police before officers opened fire and shot him. He died just after midnight.
Police recovered a gun at the scene. Grimes’ alleged victim, 24-year-old Ashley Williams, was in critical condition Monday. The couple’s unborn child, due next month, was killed.
One officer had an injury “consistent with a graze wound from a bullet,” according to the Chicago Sun Times. Another officer was treated for unknown injuries.
The officers involved in the shooting will be placed on desk duty for 30 days, per CPD policy, and IPRA is investigating.