Vigil Held for Man, Woman Killed by Chicago Police

Community and family members gathered for a vigil Sunday to mourn the loss of two people shot and killed by police — one accidentally — on the city's West Side over the weekend.

Quintonio LeGrier, a 19-year-old Northern Illinois University student, was shot and killed in the 4700 block of West Erie in the city's West Garfield Park neighborhood while police responded to a domestic disturbance involving LeGrier and his father. Neighbor Bettie Jones, 55, was also killed by accident.

Their deaths were ruled homicides, and the Independent Police Review Authority is investigating.

Dozens of people attended the vigil Sunday outside the home where the shooting occurred. Community leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, spoke during the memorial.

“The tragic fact is this is part of a practice, a pattern, of excessive force and unnecessary firing of guns,” said Jackson.

Toward the end of the vigil, attendees linked arms and sang “This Little Light of Mine” in unison.

The fatal shooting happened around 4:25 a.m. Saturday. Neighbors and family members at the scene said the domestic disturbance stemmed from LeGrier threatening his father with a metal baseball bat. LeGrier's mother said her son developed a mental illness in September but was not violent.

"Upon arrival, officers were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer's weapon which fatally wounded two individuals," Chicago police said in a statement. "The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed. The department extends its deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends."

Jones’ family said police shot the mother of five from outside the home — where she lived for a year and a half — after she opened the door, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Jones' family told NBC 5 they plan to file a lawsuit.

Family members of both Jones and LeGrier held a press conference Saturday morning and demanded change within the Chicago Police Department.

"Why you got to shoot first and ask questions later?" yelled out Jones’ childhood friend, Jacqueline Walker. "What about the Taser? Taser him down, don’t start shooting people, innocent people."

LeGrier's mother, Janet Cooksey, said her son was a hard worker and a "good child."

"He was a child that wanted things. He always said, 'Mama, I’m have millions cause, you know, I’m going to work hard and study hard."

LeGrier was an honor student at NIU studying engineering, his mother said.

"I used to watch the news daily and I would grieve for other mothers, other family members," said Cooksey. "And now today I’m grieving myself. When do it come to an end?"

It was the first of two police-involved shootings in Chicago in a 12-hour time period. Another man, identified by family as 23-year-old Mekel Lumpkin, was shot by Chicago police in the city’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

The officers involved in both shootings were placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days, according to authorities.

"This new policy which was implemented by Superintendent Escalante, will ensure separation from field duties while training and fitness for duty requirements can be conducted. Going forward, this will be standard protocol following all officer-involved shootings," the police department said in a statement.

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