Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on Monday released new information in the department's narrative of the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, detailing why the 13-year-old wasn't identified for two days but declining to say whether or not the boy was holding the gun recovered at the scene, even as Mayor Lori Lightfoot repeatedly vowed to find the person responsible for "putting that gun in Adam's hands."
Brown and Lightfoot discussed the shooting in their first joint, in-person appearance since an officer fatally shot Adam in the early morning hours of March 29.
"At approximately 2:36 a.m., ShotSpotter detected eight gunshots in the 2300 block of South Sawyer in the Little Village neighborhood," Brown said. "ShotSpotter is a gun detection system that operates through a series of sensors to identify potential gunshots. The system ShotSpotter alerts officers in real time to the location of gunfire."
Brown said 10th District officers received the notification at 2:37 a.m. and responded to the scene in less than a minute.
"When officers arrived in the 2300 block of South Sawyer they observed two males in a nearby alley. Both males fled," Brown said. "One was armed with a handgun. A foot pursuit ensued, which resulted in a confrontation in the alley."
Brown said the officer fired his weapon at approximately 2:38 a.m., shooting Adam in the chest. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene and a weapon was recovered, he added.
NBC 5 has not independently verified the reports of the incident from police and body camera footage has not yet been released.
"Why did it take so long for the Chicago Police Department to identify Adam and what happened between that time and the identification? The answer is this: At the time, Adam had no identification on him," Brown said.
"The 21-year-old man who was with him, and was arrested for resisting, provided a different name from Adam, gave a false, phony name," Brown said. "And we lost considerable time trying to identify Adam because of the wrong name."
Brown said police fingerprinted Adam three times and found no matching records in any database. At that point, he said the department began to review missing persons reports and reached out to nearby suburbs to try and identify the boy.
Detectives searched open missing persons cases and were unable to identify Adam, according to Brown, so they began to review cases in which a person who was reported missing had returned home.
Brown said investigators found a missing persons report from March 26, in which Adam's mother Elizabeth Toledo had walked into the 10th District at 6:58 p.m. and reported her son missing. Brown said the report was entered into the system at 7:17 p.m. that same day. The following day, a detective contacted her to follow up, at which point Brown said she told detectives that Adam had returned home, so his name was removed from the system tracking active missing persons cases.
On March 31, two days after police fatally shot Adam, detectives contacted Elizabeth Toledo and told her that the description of her son in that previously filed report "matched an unidentified person in the morgue," Brown said.
He said that Elizabeth Toledo "told detectives her son had returned home and then left again, either late on March 27 or early on March 28, and she had not seen him in several days."
She had not filed a second missing persons report, Brown said, but met detectives at the morgue where she identified her son at around 3:30 p.m.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative duties for 30 days per department policy, according to police. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the shooting.
The police oversight agency initially said it would not publicly release body camera video of the shooting because of state law governing cases involving a juvenile, but reversed course under public pressure on Friday and said it would release the "troubling footage."
Brown explained that as superintendent, COPA's recommendation on any potential disciplinary actions will be forwarded to him and he will have 90 days to review COPA's findings.
"If I agree to what COPA has recommended, that recommendation is sent to the city's Department of Law to prepare charges for suspension or separation which are then filed before the Police Board," Brown said.
"If I disagree at that point with COPA's recommendation, the decision goes before a one-person panel of the Police Board for determination and possible referral to the entire Police Board," he continued.
"It is important that as the department's final decision maker on COPA's recommendation for this investigation that I remain impartial and withhold any statement of opinion until presented with the evidence that COPA has gathered," Brown said. "If the COPA investigation continues, CPD will fulfill any Freedom of Information Act requests and produce reports related to this incident which include arrest reports, any third-party video and tactical response reports, forms typically filled out by office after a use of force."
Despite his release of several narrative elements of the case earlier in the news conference, Brown cited that need to be impartial when he declined to answer a question on if Adam was holding the gun or fired any shots.
"This question really speaks to my concern with going further than my statements with interfering with the investigation," Brown said. "There's a balance here on my answering questions with my role as superintendent being the final decider on what COPA is going to complete and recommend for discipline. So I'm going to just refer you to my statement that I've made here this morning for that answer and not go into any further detail, and with understanding that I'm being very careful and cautious with not interfering with COPA's investigation."
But Lightfoot at the same event said multiple times that Adam was "in possession" of the gun.
"Let's be clear: an adult put a gun in a child's hand. A young, impressionable, child, and one who should not have been provided with lethal force, a weapon that could and did irreparably change the course of his life," Lightfoot said. "This happens way too often in our city and it is way past time for us to say no more."
Lightfoot said she had directed Brown and the department to "use every resource to track down the origins of this gun through tracing, fingerprinting and DNA, and any other means, and to find the person responsible for giving it to Adam."
"I want to bring that person or persons responsible for putting that gun in Adam's hands to justice," Lightfoot said.
Earlier in her remarks, Lightfoot said she had spoken briefly with Elizabeth Toledo and warned against a rush to judgment in the case.
"In the week since his child's passing, there have already been hundreds of opinions proffered as fact. Let me say a few words about all of that. First, let us not forget that a mother's child is dead. Siblings are without their brother and this community is again grieving. None of us, none of us have walked in Miss Toledo's shoes and none of us will," she said.
"As a person of faith, I know that there is only one who can judge and it is none of us," Lightfoot said. "This is a complicated story. It's not my story to tell, particularly not as our understanding of the facts is evolving. What I do know, and what I will say is Miss Toledo and her family need our love and support in this moment, not our withering judgment."
Lightfoot also announced that she was directing the department to adopt a new policy and guidelines on foot pursuits by the summer, using input from focus groups of officers and community members.
She said she had not yet watched body camera footage of the shooting and that she would after Adam's mother sees it first, declining to answer whether COPA had scheduled a time for Elizabeth Toledo to see it.
Brown said he had watched the video, but declined to comment further on the footage. COPA said Friday that it was working with Adam's family to schedule a viewing and that it would publicly release the materials no more than 60 days after the shooting.