Neighbors gathered early Monday outside a red brick apartment building in Gresham as word spread that an officer had shot and killed a man they knew from doing odd jobs on the block.
They traded rumors and shared stories, but mostly they asked questions about what exactly happened in the second-floor apartment in the 7700 block of South Carpenter Street.
They got few answers from police, who cordoned off the entrance with red crime tape and refused to answer most questions at a news conference held down the street about three hours later.
Deputy Chief Rahman Muhammad told reporters that officers were called to the apartment around 7:35 a.m. after getting a call about a “domestic disturbance” between a man and a woman there.
“The officers observed a domestic altercation coming from within,” he said. “The responding officer discharged his service weapon, striking an individual.”
Muhammad said officers were called to the home by a “male subject from inside the house,” but would not say if that person was Michael A. Craig, the 61-year-old man who was shot by police.
He said a knife was recovered but again would not say if Craig was holding it at the time. In fact, Muhammad would not even say Craig had died from the gunshot.
That came later from a police spokesman and fire officials.
The woman was transported in good condition to a hospital, but it was unclear how or if she was injured. Muhammad would not say.
Charles Odum lives across the street from the apartment building and said he had known Craig for two or three years.
“He was a good neighbor,” said Odum, 57. “Every time I see him in the morning picking up his paper we’d say hello.”
But Odum said police often responded to Craig’s home for disturbances.
“Police always come over here to that unit, always have some type of argument going on whether it’s him, a cousin, or whoever stays up there,” Odum said.
“I just hate that it happened like this. He’s a good person, from what I know, very polite, very talkative,” Odum said. “We just chatted about random stuff, life, in the mornings when we saw each other.”
Neighbors said Craig had lived in the apartment building for about four years and did maintenance work there.
Arnita Geder, 57, lives in the building and described Craig as a “gentle soul.” She said he was in a relationship with a woman who’d recently given birth.
Geder and other neighbors said they would often hear the couple arguing.
“Him and her used to get into it all the time,” Geder said. “She was acting real strange yesterday. Every time you’d say something, she’d snap at you.”
Another neighbor, Brandy Johnson, also said police had been called numerous times to the house for disputes between Craig and his girlfriend.
“Cops have been here dozens of times,” Johnson said.
She said the girlfriend appeared to have mental issues. “She was walking around talking to herself,” Johnson said.
Johnson said Craig was originally from the West Side and that he’d moved to Gresham with his girlfriend.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability was investigating the shooting.
It was the second fatal police shooting in Chicago in a month. On Sept. 19, police fatally shot a knife-wielding man after answering a domestic disturbance call in Englewood, authorities said.
Officers responded to the 6500 block of South Harvard Avenue that morning and encountered Turell Brown armed with a knife, police said. An officer shot Brown, 28, and he was later pronounced dead.