adam toledo

Man From Little Village Says He and His Mom Witnessed Police Shooting of Adam Toledo

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One man says he and his mom witnessed from his apartment in the city's Little Village neighborhood a Chicago police officer shoot 13-year-old Adam Toledo in an alley.

Joseph Heotis, who was born and raised in Little Village, said he and his mom saw everything from their apartment window and described that night as "traumatizing."

He said they have already shared their accounts of what happened to several investigators prior to the body camera video being released to the public on Thursday.

Sitting on the front steps of his home, Heotis said he will never forget what he saw on the night of March 29.

“I was up all night that night,” he said. “Now to see it for myself it does something to me, it’s crazy. I can’t explain it.”

Heotis lives in an apartment building across the street from an alley near 24thStreet and Spaulding. He said that night he and his mom heard multiple gunshots and went to their window to check.

Investigators now believe 21-year-old Ruben Roman fired those shots at a passing car before running off with Toledo, according to police.

“I came upstairs and seen them as he was getting chase,” he said. “I told them look they’re chasing him right now. She said, 'oh my God oh...they shot him.' I was like, 'yeah they shot him.'”

Heotis said he couldn’t see at that time whether the person being pursued by police had a gun in his hand. But said that person, now identified as Toledo, had his hands up in the air.  

“He shot him one time. He didn’t even fully turn around all the way -- he was halfway turned around when he shot them,” he said.

The alley where Toledo died has now turned into a shrine. Some of his relatives stopped by the memorial Friday evening, sharing with NBC 5 memories of family gatherings and new pictures of the 13-year-old boy who they said never had a chance to live his life.

"I hope things change over here. Life's too beautiful just to waste it. Just to waste it on one night running down an alley," said Heotis. "You know so much talent and potential in this world so much to do just to waste it."

Toledo's cousin told NBC 5 off camera they would spend time at family gatherings celebrating birthdays and every year they would take part in a walk to support one of their cousins who has epilepsy.

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