Little Village

Mother of 13-Year-Old Boy Fatally Shot By Chicago Police Gives Emotional Plea For Answers

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the shooting

The mother of a 13-year-old boy fatally shot in Little Village by Chicago Police gave an emotional plea Friday, asking for answers to her son's death.

Elizabeth Toledo, mother of Adam Toledo, asked that the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Chicago Police Department provide transparency on her son's death, after receiving limited information.

"I just want to know what really happened to my baby," Toledo said. "They had a lot of options, but not kill him. They could have shot him in his legs, his arms, up in the air, I don't know but not kill my baby."

Attorney Adeena Weiss-Ortiz said the family did not hear of Adam's death until two days following the shooting, and continues to seek additional information. She said the family is not aware where Adam was at the time of the shooting nor why he left his home.

"All we know at this time is a 13-year-old boy died. Adam was a good kid. He had no criminal history. He went to Gary Elementary School. He shared time with his four siblings. And all we know is that he was shot," Ortiz said. "Ironically, this child wanted to be an officer, and he was shot by the hands of another officer."

According to the family's attorney, Toledo filed a missing persons report on Saturday for Adam, but he came home Sunday before leaving again.

Ortiz added that the mother has received messages "that the community is judging her." Toledo wanted people to know that she is a "full-time mom and homemaker" to five children ages 11 to 24, and that on Sunday night, she put her son to bed in a room he shared with is brother, according to Ortiz.

The family will have time to view the video from Chicago police next week, according to the attorney.

The Chicago Teacher's Union issued a statement on Adam's death on Friday, calling for more support in the city's public school system.

"Adam’s murder is tragic – and all too common. Yet on Monday, when Adam’s friends and educators return to their school community, they’ll have no sustained support to deal with their grief and trauma, even as the larger Little Village community is itself in crisis because of COVID. All of us, from the 5th floor of City Hall to every neighbor on every block in this city must see Adam’s killing as a call to action for all of Chicago to protect, love and support our children," the union said in a statement.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office listed Adam's cause of death as a gunshot wound to the chest, ruling his death a homicide.

The shooting took place at around 2:36 a.m. Monday in the 2300 block of South Sawyer Avenue, Chicago police said in a statement.

Police said officers responded to the area after an alert of multiple shots fired and saw two males standing in a nearby alley.

"One armed offender fled from the officers," Chicago police said Monday. "A foot pursuit ensued which resulted in a confrontation."

Police said an officer shot the person, later identified as Adam, in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police, who said officers took the second person into custody and recovered a weapon from the incident.

The officers involved have been placed on administrative duties for 30 days per department policy, according to police. COPA is investigating the shooting.

A 13-year-old boy was shot and killed by police after what officials described as an “armed confrontation” in Little Village on Monday. NBC 5’s Vi Nguyen reports

COPA said Thursday that the incident was captured on body camera footage but because of Adam's age, state law prevented the agency "from publicly releasing videos involving a juvenile" without a court order.

COPA said materials that can be released - 911 calls and incident reports, among others - will be released within 60 days of the shooting under city policy.

In a second statement Thursday, COPA spokesman Ephraim Eaddy said the agency was "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."

"COPA’s commitment to transparency remains unwavering, one of our core values and paramount to our ability to build and sustain trust," Eaddy continued.

"The death of 13 year old Adam Toledo is tragic and we have all been saddened by this incident. COPA has been in contact with the Toledo family and will provide the family a review of all video materials," the statement reads. "We are committed to releasing video materials to the extent legally possible and as a part of our commitment to transparency and building public trust."

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on Thursday called the shooting his "greatest fear."

"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," 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," Brown continued, offering his condolences to the boy's family without naming Toledo so as not 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 incident," Brown said.

"We fully support the investigation being conducted by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, 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 added.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday tweeted that her "heart goes out" to Adam's parents.

"As a mother of a 13-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 up to the tragic events in the early hours of Monday morning," she continued.

Lightfoot called it "critically important" that COPA release relevant videos to the family and then the public "as quickly as possible, with appropriate protections, given his age."

"Because his family and the public will undoubtedly have many questions, we must release any relevant videos as soon as possible," Lightfoot said. "Recognizing that these are the most complex cases that COPA investigates, transparency and speed are crucial."

The investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

Contact Us