Authorities identify man fatally shot by CPD officer in South Shore
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Authorities have identified a man who was fatally shot Saturday afternoon during a confrontation with a Chicago Police officer in the South Shore neighborhood.
About 5:30 p.m., officers on foot saw “a man exhibiting characteristics of an armed person” in the 2000 block of East 71st Street and a “confrontation” ensued when they tried to question him, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted.
An officer then opened fire, striking 37-year-old Harith Augustus, according to Guglielmi and Frank Shuftan, a spokesman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Augustus was taken to Jackson Park Hospital and pronounced dead at 5:50 p.m.
He lived in the South Shore neighborhood, less than a mile from where he was killed, Shuftan said. An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday.
No officers were hurt, and a weapon was recovered at the scene along with several magazines of ammunition, Gugliemi said. Though Guglilmi initially told the Chicago Sun-Times that Augustus didn’t have a valid FOID card or a concealed carry license, CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson later said at a news conference that Augustus had a valid FOID.
At the press conference at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, Johnson discussed the decision to release footage captured on the officer’s body camera, which Guglielmi said was “in the interest of transparency & to dispel [sic] inaccurate information.”
A chaotic scene simmered for hours after the encounter, as dozens of people chanting “murderers” and “no justice, no peace” lingered in the neighborhood. Several officers were hurt by rocks and bottles that were hurled at them.
Four people were detained during the melee, Guglielmi said. Three felony charges were pending against one of the protesters, while the others were likely detained and released without being formally arrested.
In a late-night press conference outside CPD headquarters, Chief of Patrol Fred Waller said Augustus had a bulge near his waistband and “became combative.” Guglielmi said the shooting was captured on the officer’s body camera.
People outside the crime scene after the shooting claimed a female officer shot the man at least five times in the back as he ran away, and that the officer was taken away from the scene in a police vehicle afterward as the crowd formed.
Contrary to those reports, Guglielmi said the officer who shot Augustus was a male.
Dozens of officers were called to help control a tense scene as more than 100 people crowded around, chanting at police, “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?”
Tension boiled over about 7:30 p.m. as police tried to push protesters back from the scene, with officers hitting at least six people with batons and some protesters punching back.
“We just want to live,” one woman said. “Our black kids keep getting killed. We just want to live.”
The scene cooled off for a while until more people flooded the area about 8:30 p.m., with some throwing glass bottles at officers. Scores of people scattered after police with batons entered a parking lot where protesters were gathered near the scene. Two officers shoved a Chicago Sun-Times reporter to the ground, smacking a cellphone out of his hand.
Gloria Rainge, 41, said Augustus went by the nickname “Snoop,” worked at a barbershop at 71st Street and Euclid Avenue and had a 5-year-old daughter.
Rainge said she was walking out of a nearby Walgreens store when she saw the officer tell Augustus not to sell loose cigarettes. When Augustus said he wasn’t, the argument escalated and the officer fired as he ran away, Rainge said.
“He was cool, laid back, very intelligent,” Rainge said.
Augustus wasn’t a documented gang member and had no recent arrest history, Guglielmi said.
He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery and a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession in three separate incidents over a decade ago, according to Cook County court records. He wasn’t convicted in any of the cases.
Protesters were active at the scene past 10:30 p.m. Police said two squad cars were damaged by people slashing tires and jumping on the vehicles, and that four officers received medical treatment after being hit by rocks and bottles.
“I know that they’re very passionate about things that happen in the community, especially when it’s dealing with police, but it got a little bit out of hand,” Waller said.
Protesters eventually made their way to the 3rd District police station at 70th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.
“Every time they kill one of us they’re doing an injustice to everybody,” South Sider Aldo Reyes said. “They feel the heat, they know they’re wrong.”
Charlene Carruthers said she was at the scene of the shooting when she was pushed to the ground by an officer.
“It is completely unacceptable for us to pay for them to kill us,” she said.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the use of force. Tips can be submitted at (312) 746-3609 or chicagocopa.org.
Contributing: Taylor Hartz
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