Chicago teen fatally shot by police as officer poses as pizza deliverer

By Esther J. Cepeda
The Chicago Sun-Times

Police fatally shot a 16-year-old boy and wounded two other teens on the South Side when three suspects allegedly tried to rob an undercover detective posing as a pizza delivery driver.

The dead youth was 16-year-old Lazeric Wood of the 8000 block of South Homan, the Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed Sunday. Two other boys were wounded: a 13-year-old shot while attempting to flee police, and a 14-year-old, both hit in the foot.

The incident happened late Saturday in the Ashburn neighborhood after Humberto Rodriguez Sr., 52, recognized a phone number on his pizzeria's caller ID as one area police had identified in a recent string of nine pizza-delivery robberies.


Rodriguez, who said his drivers have been robbed at gunpoint 10 times in the eight months his store has been open, followed instructions police gave him and other area pizzerias to call detectives immediately when they received orders from suspect numbers or blocked numbers.

Three Wentworth Area undercover detectives picked up the pizza and went to the house in the 8000 block of South Spaulding, posing as delivery men, according to Chicago Police spokeswoman Monique Bond.

One detective knocked on the door, got no answer and started back toward a car when three young men approached and demanded, " 'Give me the pizza and the money,' " Bond said.

Bond said Lazeric Wood pulled out a gun and pointed it at the detective after the officer identified himself by saying, "Stop, police." Wood was killed, the two others were shot, and a semiautomatic handgun was found nearby, police said.

The 13-year-old had two cell phones and, according to police, admitted he'd called for the pizza. But his mother, who asked that her name not be used, denied he could have been involved in the scheme or had access to a semi-automatic handgun.

"I just want to know why my son was shot," she said.

Wood's mother, Canery Rucker, 40, was distraught because police were not responding to questions about her son's death. "I had to identify his body on a video; he looked like he'd been beaten in the face," said Rucker.

Alisia Boyd, who identified the 14-year-old as her son, said the boys were good kids.

"These kids were not gang-bangers," said Boyd. "The pizza place owners knew these kids and gave them free pizza all the time — they had no reason to rob anyone."

Bond said late Sunday that a roundtable review concluded that the detective acted within department guidelines in the shooting.

She said Wood had a warrant on his record for robbery and a history of armed robbery. The 13- and 14-year-olds were in custody, but no charges had been filed.

Copyright 2007 Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.
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