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Bettie Jones was the 'glue' of her family, mourners say at visitation

Mourners attended a visitation for Bettie Jones, who was accidentally shot by a Chicago Police officer the day after Christmas, at Jennings-Peoples Funeral Home on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. | Ashlee Rezin/For the Sun-Times

All Bettie Ruth Jones wanted was a family reunion.

The woman shot dead by a Chicago Police officer the day after Christmas got that reunion in the cruelest of ways as her family said goodbye at a visitation Tuesday evening on the West Side.

“She was the glue. She was the chain. She was the one who kept everybody together,” her nephew Marcus Andrews said outside the Jennings-Peoples Funeral Home. “All she wanted was a family reunion. She wanted everybody to come together. It’s just crazy that it’s got to happen that everybody is coming together like this. It don’t make no sense.”

Jones, 55, and Quintonio LeGrier, 19, were shot and killed by a police officer responding to a domestic disturbance call that LeGrier’s father made from the building he owned in the 4700 block of West Early on Dec. 26.

The elder LeGrier called Jones to tell her police were on their way and asked her to answer the door.

She then “faced a hail of bullets being fired by an on-duty Chicago Police Department officer at and in the direction of her home and her, with bullets going through the doorway, and through the walls of her home,” according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jones’ family on Monday.

Police issued a statement after her death saying officers “were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon which fatally wounded two individuals.” Police said she was “accidentally struck and tragically killed” and offered condolences, according to the statement.

Jones was a mother of five, and grandmother to 10. She worked in a bakery and supported the work of the Action Now community advocate group.

Camila Andrews, Jones’ niece, said her aunt was “kind-hearted.”

“She was always willing to help out anybody,” Andrews said Tuesday.

Bettie Jones. | Family photo

Inside the funeral home, family members trickled in to say a painful goodbye. One of Jones’ brothers didn’t want to step in to see his sister. He wanted to remember her the way he knew her. But something pushed him inside, and his cries echoed through the funeral home as he struggled to breathe.

LaTonya Jones, one of Bettie Jones’ 19-year-old twin daughters, left the funeral home in tears after spending time with her mother, who wore a tiara and carried a queen’s scepter.

“It’s hard,” LaTonya Jones said, wiping away tears as she left.

Rev. Marshall Hatch, senior pastor at New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church where both LaTonya Jones and her sister attended, said the death has left a giant void in the family.

“She was he matriarch. She was the real glue,” Hatch said.

He said Bettie Jones had conversations with her family about renewing her Christian faith before she was killed: “There was a big conversation on Christmas,” Hatch said.

Hatch said her family and her community still need answers about her tragic death.

“I think people are really interested in finding out what really happened. We haven’t gotten any information,” Hatch said.

Bettie Jones’ family said Tuesday that no amount of money can make up for their loss.

“I don’t feel like we’re going to ever get closure. Ain’t no dollar amount. Ain’t no sorries. Ain’t nothing going to be able to fix what we already feel,” Marcus Andrews said.

Bettie Jones’ funeral will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington, with a wake beginning an hour before the funeral.