A 13-year-old authorities said was involved in a carjacking was shot and seriously wounded as he ran from Chicago police officers in the South Austin neighborhood Wednesday, according to Chicago police and fire officials.
After he fled on foot, the boy “turned toward officers” and was shot once, Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said during a brief evening press conference at police headquarters.
“No shots were fired at officers,” Brown added. He declined to say how many times police fired.
The boy was shot once, said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. He was apparently unarmed, authorities said, as no gun was recovered. Brown did not say whether the boy did or did not have a gun when he was wounded in the lot of a nearby gas station.
Officers were trying “to stop a stolen vehicle wanted in connection with a vehicular hijacking from a neighboring suburb,” in the 800 block of North Cicero Avenue about 10:15 p.m., according to a statement from Chicago police.
Police from that suburb, Oak Park, had sent out an all-points bulletin for the vehicle — a gray, older model Honda Accord — which four males fled in after ditching a 2017 Honda CRV with a 3-year-old girl inside, which was stolen in downtown Oak Park on Tuesday night, said village spokesman Erik Jacobsen.
“As they drove off, the mother grabs onto the vehicle (CRV) and is dragged before falling and breaking her clavicle,” Brown said.
“As officers approached the vehicle,” the Chicago police statement said, the boy took off running down the block, “where an officer discharged his weapon,” wounding the 13-year-old.
“When Chicago Fire (Department) arrived on scene, the Chicago Police Department was rendering medical aid to the patient on the ground,” Langford said.
The boy was taken to Stroger Hospital’s pediatric unit, where he was listed in serious condition, Langford said. Officers “immediately rendered aid” to the boy, police confirmed.
A second suspect fled and was not arrested, according to a statement released Thursday afternoon from the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
Chicago police alerted COPA when their carjacking task force team saw the car.
“Officers engaged in a foot pursuit of one of the occupants of the vehicle,” said Ephraim Eaddy, COPA spokesman.
“One officer discharged their firearm, striking the occupant, who is 13 years of age. The officer’s body camera was activated, and COPA is in possession of third party and POD video that captures the incident. No weapon was recovered on scene.”
COPA said they are not able to release the video and other materials, per juvenile court rules.
Police would not say if the boy did anything to make officers fear for their lives, instead referring the Tribune to the police statement, which did not include that information.
Officials said at least one other suspected carjacker drove off in the Accord, which police later found unoccupied in the 3800 block of West Monroe Street, west of Garfield Park.
Jacobsen said the stolen CRV was found less than 15 minutes later Tuesday with the child still inside and unharmed. Police discovered the CRV about a mile and a half away after its driver left it there and jumped into the Accord, joining several other young males. The driver sped eastbound in the 200 block of Madison Street.
“We sent out all-points bulletin to be on the lookout for that car and this kinda blew up again last night in Chicago,” Jacobsen said.
Brown said the Honda Accord had been stolen Monday night in Chicago in the 100 block of West Randolph Street after someone left it running with the keys inside.
Two police officers were taken to a hospital “for observation” and had been listed in good condition, according to the statement.
When asked if Wednesday night’s shooting was being reviewed in light of the department’s still-unfinalized foot chase policy, Chicago police spokesman Don Terry referred questions to COPA.
In December, COPA sent their recommendations for changes in the foot chase policy to police, but they are still in draft mode and “conversations are ongoing” about further updates, said COPA spokeswoman Jennifer Rottner.
“There’s nothing from last night’s shooting that prompted anything today,” Rottner said Thursday afternoon.
The Chicago Police Department missed its goal of implementing a permanent foot pursuit policy in September 2021, saying it needed more time to analyze data.
The temporary foot pursuit policy, which went into effect in June 2021, following the fatal shootings in late March 2021 of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, will remain in place in the interim, police said. Toledo and Alvarez were both shot and killed by officers who ran after them.
As is routine, the officer or officers involved in Wednesday night’s shooting will be assigned to administrative duties for 30 days and it is under investigation by COPA.
Late Thursday afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a statement about the shooting:
“I am aware of the officer involved shooting that resulted in a 13-year-old being shot by a Chicago police officer yesterday evening,” Lightfoot said in the statement. “I have been in contact with Superintendent Brown and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, led by Chief Administrator Andrea Kersten, is actively investigating this matter,” Lightfoot said in the statement. “I have full confidence that COPA will investigate this incident expeditiously with the full cooperation of the Chicago Police Department.”
Check back for updates.
Chicago Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas contributed.