Crime and Courts

Retired Chicago police officer killed in shooting heroically saved lawncare worker's life

A 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with Larry Neuman's killing, police said.

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Retired Chicago police officer Larry Neuman was in the process of paying someone for mowing the grass outside his West Garfield Park home when two people, armed with guns, approached.

Noticing both individuals were armed, the retired law enforcement veteran acted quickly and "heroically pushed the worker out of harm's way," said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Antoinette Ursitti. Neuman grabbed his gun from his waistband, at which point he and the suspects exchanged gunfire.

Neuman, 73, was shot and subsequently died from his injuries. The suspects fled the scene following the shooting.

At a news conference on Monday evening, Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling announced a 16-year-old boy had been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with Neuman's killing. Detectives were still searching for the second gunman.

CPD Superintendent Larry Snelling, Chief of Detectives Antoinette Ursitti and Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx gave new details about the murder of former officer Larry Neuman in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood.

Ursitti credited the public for their assistance in bringing the suspected shooter to justice, explaining multiple people provided the teenager's name after police released surveillance footage on Saturday.

"The community assistance in this case was instrumental in the investigation," the chief of detectives said. "The evidence they provided helped detectives quickly secure charges against the 16-year-old offender."

An officer assigned to the Area Four Priority Response Team also recognized the offender from a previous encounter in May, during which he was wearing the same clothes, police said.

Neuman, who was the longest-serving explosives specialist in Chicago Police Department history, most recently served as an explosives technician with the TSA at Midway International Airport, where he passed on his knowledge to younger generations.

The veteran officer long lived in West Garfield Park, where he was deeply involved in the neighborhood - a community that loved him, Snelling said.

"He still lived within that community when he didn't have to," the police superintendent said. "But it showed how much he cared about the people who live in that neighborhood."

A number of community members, local leaders and officers honored Neuman with a march and vigil on Sunday.

While he spent his professional life protecting others, Neuman also worked tirelessly to bring peace to the West Garfield Park neighborhood - to show young people "there is a better way." Snelling recalled a recent conversation with Rev. Paul Simms of St. Michael Missionary Baptist Church, where Neuman served as a minister.

"And what he said was that Larry would have done whatever he could to reach out to those two young men who were responsible for his murder," Snelling said. "Larry's life was taken from him by the very people he committed his life to helping."

While making an arrest and filing charges in the case won't bring Neuman back, police hope it will bring some type of justice to his family -- and prevent others from going through what they have.

Dozens of people took part in a march Sunday in the city's West Garfield Park neighborhood to honor retired police officer Larry Neuman, who was shot and killed days earlier. NBC Chicago's Lexi Sutter reports.

"So we will carry on Larry's mission," Snelling said. "We will continue to honor Larry and other members of of any community who stepped up and tried to do whatever they could to better those communities."

Monday's announcement took place just days after authorities announced an arrest and charges involving a different 16-year-old boy, who was charged with the shooting death of 7-year-old Jai'Mani Rivera. The young boy was fatally shot running an errand for his mother outside his Near West Side home.

"Last week it was a child, today it’s an elder, and the common thread is other children taking their lives," Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said at Monday's news conference.

While the 16-year-old accused of murder in Neuman's death was being charged as an adult, his name had yet to be released as of late Monday. His name, as well as additional details about the shooting, are expected to be revealed at a court hearing on Tuesday.

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