clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Medical examiner releases Adam Toledo autopsy details

Until Adam was positively identified, authorities had estimated his age at 21 to 30; Adam weighed 91 pounds and was 5 feet tall.

A memorial for 13-year-old Adam Toledo at the spot where the teen was standing when he was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer, in an alley near the 2300 block of South Sawyer Avenue.
A memorial for 13-year-old Adam Toledo at the spot where the teen was standing when he was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer, in an alley near the 2300 block of South Sawyer Avenue.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Police, paramedics and another county investigator initially believed 13-year-old Adam Toledo — a seventh grader who weighed 91 pounds and was 5 feet tall — was at least 21 years old when a Chicago police officer shot and killed him in March, according to city and county documents.

The Chicago Sun-Times reviewed the medical examiner’s autopsy report, a medical examiner’s investigator report from the scene of the shooting, a Chicago Fire Department report and a Chicago Police Department incident report.

A Chicago police officer fatally shot Adam in the early morning hours of March 29 after chasing him down an alley next to Farragut Career Academy in Little Village. A gun was found near where Adam was shot.

Police were in the area responding to a ShotSpotter gunshot detector alert. The fatal encounter was captured on police-worn body cameras and was released to the public in April which prompted mass protests and national attention.

Latino leaders earlier this week called on a moratorium on police foot pursuits and last month also called for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the shooting of Adam.

The autopsy report concluded Adam was killed by a single bullet which entered the left side of his chest and exited the right side of his back. It made no note of any “soot deposition or gunpowder particles” on his clothing. Police also took samples of clothing to test for gunshot residue before the start of the autopsy, but no results have been provided to the Sun-Times.

Adam had a tattoo on his right wrist, according to the medical examiner, but no photos were included in autopsy documents provided to the Sun-Times.

Adam was shot March 29 at 2:38 a.m. and pronounced dead on arrival at 2:46 a.m. by the CFD paramedics, according to the reports.

Chicago police reported Adam’s death to the medical examiner’s office at 4:09 a.m. — 83 minutes after CFD had pronounced him dead — according to a medical examiner investigation case report.

A police spokesman declined to comment on why it took officers that long to notify the medical examiner’s office of the shooting, but noted death scenes develop differently.

For example, when someone dies due to natural causes, officers typically are able to report the death to the medical examiner much more quickly than if it is a shooting death that requires more investigation.

Still, a county ordinance requires police to notify the medical examiner of deaths “immediately” and “within one hour of their becoming aware of the death.”

The medical examiner investigation report also leaves some questions about how long its investigator was on site. The investigator failed to document what time they arrived on the scene or what time they left.

A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said Thursday the investigator had enough time to take photos of the scene and collect other information but couldn’t say when they arrived.

The investigator did document that Adam was fatally shot by police after officers were responding to “a call of shots fired.” At the time of the report, the identity of Adam was “Unknown” — Adam was carrying no ID. The investigator also listed Adam as between 21 and 30 years old.

That estimate of Adam’s age would not change until he was eventually identified two days later, on March 31.

Ruben Roman, a 21-year-old man who was in the alley that night, was arrested not long before Adam was shot. He gave a fake name for Adam and also denied knowing him, a Cook County prosecutor said. That hampered efforts to identify Adam, CPD Supt. David Brown has said.

According to the original CPD incident report, the investigator from the medical examiner’s office gave approval for Adam’s body to be transported from the scene. He was picked up at 5:02 a.m. and, 19 minutes later, arrived at the morgue.