A Little Village woman who says she witnessed the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo believes the newly released body camera video supports what she saw that night from her second-floor apartment window — the boy was unarmed and complying with the officer when he was shot.
Margarita Gomez had told the Sun-Times earlier this month how she watched the fatal event from her living room window, insisting even then that Adam was turning around, with his arms raised, when the officer fired.
She dreaded watching the video after it was released Thursday but needed to confirm that what she had seen that night was real. When a Sun-Times reporter showed her the video for the first time, she choked back tears.
“I feel angry. I feel sad and heartbroken. That boy’s life was stolen from him by that officer,” Gomez said. “Even if the kid had a gun and tossed it, you still shot him with no gun in his hands while he is following your orders.”
On March 29, Gomez said, she was up late binge-watching “Vikings” on Hulu in her second-floor apartment when she heard about half a dozen gunshots. She ran to her living room window to see what was going on.
“From my window in my apartment you can see everything in that alley since it overlooks this wooden fence,” Gomez said at the time. “And that alley is lit up pretty good.”
Within a minute, she said, she saw two people enter the alley from the gangway of a building. A police cruiser arrived from the north end of the alley and officers jumped out and grabbed a man, later identified by police as 21-year-old Ruben Roman Jr.
At this point, she said, Adam took off south on the alley toward 24th Street and the officer began chasing him and shouting at him to stop running.
“All I heard was the police officer telling him ‘Hold or I’ll shoot’ and the person was turning around while putting his hands up and the officer shot him,” Gomez said at the time. “He shot him one time — at least, I heard one gunshot.”
The fence alongside Farragut Career Academy’s parking lot has a large gap where several slats are missing, allowing Gomez to see into the alley from her living room. That’s where she said she saw Adam fall after he was shot.
She showed a Sun-Times reporter and photographer the view from her living room window, pointing to the spot in the alley near the 2400 block of South Spaulding.
Several days after the shooting, a police detective visited her home to interview her and her family about what they saw that night.
“I let the detective into my home and he asks us a few questions, then he goes to my living room window and says ‘You can’t see s--- from here, how can you see over the fence?’” Gomez said Thursday.
“I don’t care what the cops say. I know what I saw and I’m telling you that boy was shot without a gun in his hand.”