Suspect fatally shot, 3 cops hurt in crash

August 23, 2010 4:43:18 PM PDT
Police opened fire on a suspect who allegedly used his car as a weapon against officers on the city's South Side.

Police say Garfield "Romale" King, 32, led officers on a chase on the city's South Side after an attempted traffic stop in the 7900-block of South Stony Island. The chase ended with a crash at 91st and South Emerald in which two officers were injured. Police say King then rammed his car into another squad car, pinning and injuring a third officer. The impact also caused King's car to catch fire.

Officials said that's when they opened fire, killing King and injuring his 19-year-old girlfriend, who was treated and released. She is now in police custody, according to her mother. Police also questioned two other people in the backseat who were later released.

The three officers were treated for minor injuries and should be OK.

King's family confirms that he was still inside the car when officers opened fire.

"We heard a lot of gunshots, about 50 gunshots," said Margaret Robinson, King's relative.

Police towed the suspects' car-- which has about a dozen bullet holes-- away the scene almost nine hours after the incident.

"He doesn't deserve to be shot. No, he didn't. And it's killing me inside," said Margaret King, grandmother.

Margaret King said she raised King, who went to church with her Sunday and would make her breakfast every morning. She said King was trying to improve his life-- but admits he was driving on a suspended license.

"He really deserved to do better. He deserved a lot. He didn't get to see, and it's their fault that he didn't get to see it because they just took his life for nothing," said Randi Ross, cousin.

"He had his problems with the police before sometimes but it wasn't nothing real serious for them to shoot him down like a dog like that," said cousin Sebrina Robinson.

On Monday, police superintendent Jody Weis says the case is still under investigation.

"When we have individuals trying to murder police officers by using their vehicle, putting the police officers in harm's way, that's a very real danger to everybody, not only to the police department but also to the community," said Weis.

King was a father of two.

"I'm real hurt about it, and luckily I was down to visit my cousin. He never did nothing to nobody. Everybody knew Romale as a good guy," Ross said.

"Why would they kill him? It's bad. He can't come back," Margaret King said.

Residents in the neighborhood were talking all day about what happened.

"It is pretty quiet over here. All the neighbors came out, they were checking on each other to make sure we were safe and everything so that was really something out of the ordinary," said Cherise Smith, neighbor.

Police also say two weapons and narcotics were recovered at the scene. The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating.


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