Gerry Doyle and David Heinzmann
Distributed by Knight/Ridder Tribune News Service
Aug. 8- Two Chicago police officers shot and critically injured a teenage boy who aimed a BB pistol at officers as they tried to question the youth about an attempted robbery that had taken place minutes earlier, police said.
The 14-year-old boy, who a family member identified as Ellis Woodland, brandished the weapon about 5:10 p.m. Monday when police confronted him at Clybourn Avenue and Division Street, police said.
The BB gun looked like an authentic semiautomatic firearm, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. The boy was taken to Children's Memorial Hospital in critical condition, she said.
At the hospital, Thomas Strong, the boy's uncle, said the teen is "a good student. He has never been in trouble with the law." Strong was with other relatives of the boy at the hospital.
The incident began when a juvenile flagged down a police patrol car at Sedgwick and Division Streets, near the Cabrini-Green public housing complex, and said two teens had just tried to rob him, police said.
Police spokesman Pat Camden said one of the would-be robbers was apprehended nearby without incident after a witness pointed him out. He was carrying a gun of some sort that he dropped on the street, Camden said.
As the boy ran, officers put out a bulletin to other cars in the area with a description of the suspect, police said.
Another car spotted the boy, who fit the description, as he crossed Division Street, toward Seward Park, and officers tried to stop him. The boy reached into his waistband and pulled out the gun, which he pointed at the officers, police said.
Camden said police fired "several times," but he didn't know how many times the boy was shot.
Strong said the shooting "is a tough pill to swallow" for the boy's parents, who were with him at the hospital. Strong said the boy was shot three times.
David Russell, 42, who grew up in Cabrini-Green, said he saw the boy "leaning over to drop the gun" when officers opened fire.
Bond said other witnesses reported that the boy pointed the gun at officers.
"We have other witnesses providing different accounts [from Russell's]," she said. "We will wait for the results of the roundtable to be completed before commenting on witness statements."
As officers from nearly 20 squad cars milled about the scene, one nearby resident said the violence is unusual for the gentrifying area.
"I've lived down here for six years, and I've never seen anything like this," said Jan Mark Bassali, 30, a pharmacist who lives in a new building on Mohawk Street. "I've got chills."
Tribune staff reporter Josh Noel contributed to this report
Chicago cops shoot teen holding BB gun