WARNING: This story contains a graphic video that shows a police officer shooting a boy.
AUSTIN — New video has emerged showing police shooting an unarmed 13-year-old boy who ran from a car believed to be used in a carjacking during a foot chase on the West Side earlier this week.
At about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 800 block of North Cicero Avenue, Chicago police officers stopped the driver of a stolen car they suspected had been involved in an Oak Park carjacking, police said. The boy, who had been in the car, got out and ran away as several officers followed, officials said. One officer shot him, officials said. The driver of the car drove off and it was later found abandoned in Garfield Park.
The 13-year-old boy was hospitalized in serious condition, according to a Civilian Office of Police Accountability spokesperson.
The video footage obtained by Chicago Media Takeout appears to show the boy running from at least five officers through a gas station parking lot. An officer shoots him, then the boy collapses on his side. One officer shot the boy once, Police Supt. David Brown said.
Brown said the boy “turns toward” police before the officer shot him. But it’s unclear in the video whether the teenager turns to face officers before being shot.
Several officers can be seen surrounding the boy, as one of the pursuing officers stumbles away, doubles over, and falls to the ground momentarily before getting up, the video shows.
Two officers close to the boy kneel over him, while others momentarily turn to the officer who fell to the ground before turning their attention back to the boy, the video shows. Officers gather around the child, and several lift him and move him to another spot in the parking lot. Several officers bend over the boy and touch him.
Brown previously said officers moved the critically injured boy out of concern they may have shot the gas pumps and that the shots could cause a fire.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
The shooting was also captured in pod camera video obtained by WGN.
Brown said no shots were fired at police and no weapon was recovered at the scene.
Officers were not wounded, but two were taken to a hospital “for observation,” police said. They were in good condition. The officers involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days, police said. Later Friday, police said the officer who shot the teen has been stripped of police powers pending the outcome of COPA’s investigation.
COPA investigators, who probe police shootings, collected body camera footage from the officer who fired the shot, city surveillance video from the scene and “third-party” video of the incident, but the agency said it won’t be released, according to a statement.
West Side neighbors who live near where the shooting occurred criticized police for their actions.
“The police didn’t have to shoot him. If he got out the car running and he wasn’t a threat, they didn’t have to shoot him,” said a neighbor in her 70s who lives a block from the gas station. “I’m so sad. He’s just 13. … they don’t have guidance.”
Another neighbor in her 50s said the teenager shouldn’t have run from officers, but she questions what would have happened even if the boy did comply.
“How many of them have raised their hands and still got shot?” she said.
Officers need to be held accountable for shooting at the 13-year-old as he ran away, youth organizer Tae Gates said. The incident and the broader carjacking surge “could have been handled a million different ways before it got to this point,” Gates said.
Last summer, Gates and other West Side youth developed the Austin Safety Action Plan, a strategy for reducing violence by engaging at-risk youth and pouring resources, programs and activities into a “safe zone” anchored by neighborhood schools, the Austin Branch Library, Austin Town Hall Park and other local institutions.
The spike in recent years of young people carrying out carjackings demonstrates a hopelessness and lack of guidance, Gates said. Young people “need help before it gets to this point,” he said.
“They feel like they need to do certain things. …That’s all they’re seeing and they think this is the only way to get where they want to be,” Gates said.
Troubled young people need more opportunities to “build bonds with other people” in the community and need positive activities that can divert them away from risky behavior, something the Austin Safety Action Plan accomplished by offering free, intergenerational sports and activities.
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