Mother of 5 Bettie Jones and NIU Student Quintonio LeGrier Killed by Chicago Police
A mother of five and a teen college student were shot and killed by police responding to a domestic violence call in Chicago’s West Side early Saturday morning.
NBC Chicago reports 57-year-old Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier, a 19-year-old engineering student at Northern Illinois University, were shot and mortally wounded at about 4:25 a.m. by officers called to the 4700 block of West Erie in Austin for an alleged domestic disturbance.
Neighbors and relatives told reporters that LeGrier was threatening his father, who is also the building’s landlord, with a baseball bat. They said Jones, who also lived in the building, opened the door for police and was then shot in the neck. Daughter Latesha Jones said she was awakened when she heard multiple shots fired. She then watched as her mother lay bleeding on the ground.
“She wasn’t saying anything,” Jones told NBC Chicago, adding that her mother was still breathing when she was taken away by paramedics. She was pronounced dead at Loretto Hospital at 4:51 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Janet Cooksey, LeGrier’s mother, told CBS Chicago that her son was shot seven times and was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital at 5:14 a.m. Cooksey said she thought police would take her son to the hospital to treat his mental health issues, not shoot him dead.
“If you are a police officer, you are supposed to be trained for situations,” she said. “Seven bullets were put in my son. Seven.”
“He didn’t have a gun. He had a bat. One or two times would have brought him down,” Cooksey added.
Chicago police issued a statement claiming officers responding to the call felt threatened by someone in the home.
“Upon arrival, officers were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals,” the statement read. “The matter remains under investigation and all further inquiries can be directed to the Independent Police Review Authority.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reports LeGrier was majoring in electrical engineering technology at Northern Illinois University. He graduated last year from Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy with honors, and was one of 46 Brooks students who ran the 2013 Chicago Marathon to raise money for clean drinking water for children in Africa.
LeGrier reportedly struggled with mental issues.
“I was praying with him because he wasn’t acting like himself,” Betty Turner, the slain teen’s great-aunt, told the Chicago Tribune.
Cooksey directed her anger toward Chicago authorities, who have a generations-long history of abusing—even systematically torturing—the city’s black residents.
“Are we gonna get protected or is the police just gonna keep taking lives?” she told the Tribune. “I mean, whose gonna answer these questions? Emanuel, I want a personal apology for my son’s life.”
Chicago’s black community is still reeling from the release of police video footage last month showing veteran CPD officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, including twice in the back and while he was writhing in agony on the ground. Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder.