One man is dead after a police-involved shooting on Chicago's Far South Side Saturday afternoon, according to police and the man's family.
The incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. in the 3100 block of West 111th Street in the city's Mount Greenwood neighborhood, according to police.
Authorities initially said an off-duty officer was "fired upon and returned fire," according to a tweet from CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi.
Chicago Police said in a statement that a car that had just left funeral services at a nearby cemetery was stopped in traffic directly in front of a firehouse.
An off-duty Chicago firefighter told the driver that the car was illegally blocking the fire lane, police said, at which point the occupants exited the vehicle and "a verbal and physical altercation ensued."
An off-duty Chicago police officer heard the commotion from inside a nearby business, according to police, and attempted to assist the firefighter. An additional Chicago police sergeant was driving to work when he also spotted the altercation and saw a man with a firearm, authorities said.
The sergeant stopped, exited his vehicle, displayed his weapon and announced his office, according to the release from police.
"As the incident continued to escalate and the offender failed to drop his weapon, shots were fired striking the individual multiple times," the release states.
“The subject displayed a weapon,” CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference, adding that the incident began as road rage. “An off-duty CPD sergeant that was on his way to work in uniform observed the subject, at that time shots were fired and the subject was fatally struck.”
The man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, according to police and the man’s family. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office could not immediately confirm the fatality.
Family members identified the man as 25-year-old Joshua Beal, a father of two young children who was in town from Indianapolis to be a pallbearer at his cousin's funeral.
According to Beal’s family, who gave a narrative that conflicted with the police account, the incident began when an off-duty officer in an unmarked vehicle cut off one of the cars in the funeral procession that had just left Mount Hope Cemetery.
“This guy, who we later found out is a police officer, tried to run my 17-year-old sister off the road. We pulled him over to ask him what was he doing and he pushed my female cousin to the ground and pointed his gun in her face,” said Beal’s sister Cordney Boxley.
At that point, Boxley said, several male family members ran over to find out what was happening. Boxley added that her brother, who she said had a concealed carry license, had returned to his car by the time shots rang out.
“As the scene dispersed, we're trying to go back to our car and I guess the officer was going to his car, and he, for no reason, just got out of his vehicle and started shooting my brother,” Boxley said. “He then went from his driver's side to my brother's passenger side of his vehicle, opened up his car door, pulled my brother out just to continue to empty his entire clip on him."
Beal’s family insisted that no shots were fired at the officers, and that they did not identify themselves as law enforcement until after the shooting.
“He let them know, ‘I have a concealed carry license,’ and put his hands up, so at that point, is he posing any threat to you?” asked Beal’s mother Tiffaney Boxley.
“Chicago police gunned my baby down like a vicious animal. They shot him twice in his back and three times in his front,” Beal’s mother said, adding that police did not allow her to see her son at the hospital. “My son didn’t do nothing, he didn’t even stay here. He was here for a funeral.”
Several people involved, including the off-duty firefighter and off-duty police officer, sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to police, who also said that a weapon was recovered from the scene.
The incident remains under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority, police said, and the officers involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days in accordance with standard department procedure in all police-involved shootings.