Chicago Police shoot 5, kill 2 over weekend, but mayor isn’t talking

Written By BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter Posted: 07/07/2014, 02:12am
Array Georgia Utendahl, James Ball, and Georgina Utendahl grieve nearby the scene where their family member was shot by police on Saturday near 87th and Morgan. There have been five police involved shootings since Friday. | Alex Wroblewski / Sun-Times

After police cornered Warren Robinson under a junked car in the Gresham neighborhood Saturday night, the 16-year-old pointed a .387-caliber semiautomatic pistol at two cops as he tried to crawl out, authorities say.

So the cops shot him.

But then, the boy allegedly raised his gun again.

And the officers opened fire a second time on the Brainerd boy in the 8700 block of South Sangamon. That’s where he would soon be pronounced dead — one of two teenagers killed and three people wounded by Chicago police in less than 48 hours this holiday weekend.

Officials defended, but were at a loss to fully explain Sunday the startling rate of police gunfire that also left 14-year-old Pedro Rios of Rogers Park dead. Mayor Rahm Emanuel refused to comment on the shootings at an unrelated event.

“Five shootings in two days is not normal,” said Larry Merritt of the Independent Police Review Authority. IPRA has investigated approximately 312 shootings by Chicago police since late 2007, when it replaced CPD’s widely-criticized Office of Professional Standards, and has consistently backed officers’ use of deadly force.

Of the 158 investigations of “officer involved shootings” it has completed, according to its website, it found that an officer violated department rules in just one case — a 2008 incident in which a cop shot through an interior wall at a gunman he could not see, though it said there were “extraordinary circumstances” that “mitigate” his actions.

This weekend’s violence left grieving family members in its wake, some of whom directed their anger toward CPD. One, Robinson’s grandmother, insisted the boy didn’t have a gun at all when police shot him.

“They murdered my grandson, that’s my theory,” Georgia Utendahl said.

But CPD spokesman Martin Maloney said in an email officers prefer not to use their weapons.

“When they find themselves in armed confrontations with dangerous offenders — often the result of too many illegal weapons on our streets, they must do what is best to protect themselves and the public they serve,” Maloney said.

Between 2009 and 2013, an average of 53 people annually were hurt in “officer-involved shootings” in Chicago, according to the IPRA. That’s equivalent to more than one a week.

On average 15 injuries per year wound up being fatal between 2009 and 2013, IPRA reports.

And during the first three months of this year, 17 people were hurt in “officer-involved shootings.” Three of those were fatal.

Five more cases were added to this year’s total over the weekend.

In addition to Robinson, Rios was shot and killed by police Friday in Portage Park on the Northwest Side.

Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden said the boy was seen “holding something under his arm, looking suspicious” and ran when officers approached him. Eventually he turned and pointed a large revolver at an officer who shot him at Berenice and Cicero about 9:55 p.m., Camden said.

A .44 Magnum with an 8-inch barrel was recovered at the scene.

“These are individuals that are being confronted by uniformed police officers and decided they don’t want to drop the gun and give up,” Camden said. “They want to turn around and put the officer’s life in danger.”

Contributing: Brian Slodysko, Matt McKinney and Sun-Times Media Wire


Twitter: @SeidelContent

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