A Chicago Police officer shot Quintonio LeGrier six times and Bettie Jones once in the chest, according to Cook County medical examiner’s records that also reveal police waited more than three hours before telling medical examiner’s investigators that the cop had fired his gun.
“At the initial time of this report, investigator [Justin] Pratt was told this was not a police-involved shooting. Attempts to gather more information from CPD were to no avail,” according to the records released Thursday. “It was discovered later that this was in fact a police shooting.”
Because of the late notifications, a medical examiner’s investigator did not go to the scene of the killings in the 4700 block of West Erie. Instead, the medical examiner’s office took down a police officer’s account that seems to contradict details about the shootings that have been disclosed by attorneys for the victims’ families.
“It is standard practice for an investigator to respond in-person to a police shooting,” medical examiner’s spokeswoman Becky Schlikerman said. “In these cases, too much time had elapsed between the incident and the time the death was reported” for that to happen.
The autopsy for LeGrier showed he suffered four of his six bullet wounds to the backside, enraging a lawyer who is representing his father, Antonio LeGrier, who has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against City Hall.
“He was not shot from the front by any of the gunshots. Period,” attorney Basileios “Bill” Foutris said. “This a shooting that should not have happened. It was not justified.”
Police have declined to comment, other than to release a statement that officers “were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, which fatally wounded two individuals.” Jones, the statement said, “was accidentally struck.”
Internal police records point to the identity of the officer who fatally shot Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier: Chicago Reader
LeGrier, a 19-year-old on winter break from Northern Illinois University, was hit in the far left side of his chest, his lower back, his right buttock and the back of his left arm when Officer Robert Rialmo opened fire. Rialmo and his partner were responding to a domestic quarrel at Antonio LeGrier’s home. The teen, who had an “active ingredient of marijuana” in his system, also was grazed on the back right side of his shoulder and on the left side of his chest, according to the autopsy.
Jones, 55, who lived in the apartment beneath LeGrier’s father, was shot once in the chest.
Though attorneys for Antonio LeGrier and Jones’ family have said police were outside the home when the officer opened fire, the medical examiner’s records indicate police were inside when Quintonio LeGrier “became hostile and advanced toward them while holding a baseball bat,” prompting the shooting.
Medical examiner’s investigators didn’t learn that LeGrier had been killed until 6:05 a.m. on Dec. 26 — about an hour and 40 minutes after the 4:25 a.m. shootings — when a doctor at Stroger Hospital notified them, records show.
It wasn’t until 7:44 a.m. — nearly three-and-a-half hours later — that the medical examiner’s office was told that Jones had been killed. A Chicago Police officer made that notification, disclosing for the first time to the medical examiner’s staff that Jones and LeGrier had been shot by police.
“This was some sort of miscommunication and CPD regrets any confusion this caused anyone,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
The department’s Crime Prevention Information Center put out a notification to police and other city officials at 5:10 a.m. on Dec. 26 saying officers had discharged their service weapons “with hits” at about 4:25 a.m., Guglielmi said.
The medical examiner’s office does not get those CPIC notifications, Schlikerman said.
“There’s something fishy going on,” said Foutris, the lawyer for LeGrier’s father. “There’s really no reason at all for the medical examiner to not have been notified immediately . . . that this was a police-involved shooting.”
Based on his conversation with the cop who reported Jones’ death, a medical examiner’s investigator wrote the following:
“On 26 DEC 15, the landlord, Antonio LeGrier . . . apparently got into an argument with his son Quintonio LeGrier. . . . Quintonio grabbed a baseball bat and was threating [sic] his father. Antonio called police, and then called Jones. Antonio asked Jones if she would let the police into the building when they arrived. Jones agreed, against the wishes of her friend/companion who was with her in her apartment.
“When police arrived, Jones pointed upstairs to guide police to the proper location. At that time, Quintonio was coming down the stairs heading toward Jones. Jones motioned to step back into her apartment; at which time, police fired shots in an attempt to stop Quintonio.”
A Chicago Reader analysis of police radio traffic that night captured one of the officers telling a dispatcher “Female black hit.”
“All right . . . is there shots fired by police?” the dispatcher asked.
“We got two down, two down,” either Rialmo or his partner said.
“10-4, we do have an ambulance en route, but you are OK, correct?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yeah, we’re good,” one of the officers said. “F—in’ step up on the cars and ambo right now.”
Police have not said where the officers were when Jones and LeGrier were shot.
Attorney Sam Adam Jr., who represents Jones’ family in a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city, said he doesn’t believe that police entered the home and opened fire, which the medical examiner’s records indicate.
“How in the heck can those statements be true . . . when the shell casings were outside the home, 25 feet from the front door?” Adam said.
“That’s why they lied this was not a police shooting,” he said. “They tried to get their story straight.”