Supt. McCarthy: Officers not 'trigger happy'

Cannon, Banks

July 27, 2011 4:53:46 AM PDT
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said guns were recovered in two separate police-involved shootings on the city's West Side.

Family members dispute police reports in both shootings, which occurred just three hours apart on Monday night. Supt. McCarthy addressed both shootings Tuesday and called on the community for change.

"I'm not going to assess blame. I'm not going to point fingers. What I am going to ask as a community is that we turn this around," Supt. McCarthy said.

Supt. McCarthy said in the 41 police-involved shootings this year, 40 guns have been recovered.

"When you're in an armed confrontation, you're in a deadly confrontation," Supt. McCarthy said. "I don't believe it's a case that our officers are trigger happy."

He said there's "wanton disregard" for life on the streets. He said, "Why is this happening? Quite frankly, I'm not positive."

Jimmell Cannon, 13, was shot eight times, according to his family. He was struck in the arm, leg and shoulder. He was taken to Stroger Hospital.

Police say officers were responding to a call of shots fired in the 4200-block of West Cortez Monday at 11 p.m. Cannon matched the description of a suspect in that reported shooting, police said, and when they tried to question the 13-year-old boy, police say he took off running. Officers said the boy had a gun in his hand. Police say they fired when he pointed it at them.

"The gun was recovered at the scene. It was in fact, a bb gun. We have witnesses that support the officer's story," Supt. McCarthy said.

Cannon's family denies that the boy had a gun on him. They also say Cannon put his hands in the air when commanded by officers. Cannon's mother, Kenyata Cannon, said the boy was with friends celebrating a cousin's birthday when he was shot by police.

"All the kids were playing together. It was nothing that we could see or say that he did to cause this," mother Kenyata Cannon said. "He didn't [have a weapon]. I didn't see him with a weapon. No one saw him with a weapon. No one out there saw him with a weapon."

About three hours earlier, Chicago police shot a man near Sawyer and Ohio streets. Police say when officers tried to talk to Joe Banks Jr., 20, he pointed a gun at them. The man's family gathered Tuesday morning at Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was in critical condition with gunshot wounds to his back and leg. The man's father said witnesses told him Banks did not have a gun, but Supt. McCarthy said, "Another weapon was recovered at that scene."

The Banks family is calling it a wrongful shooting.

"My son is not that kind of young man. He is not a gangbanger. He does not sell drugs. He is a licensed plumber. We are a decent family. We have been raised in church. My dad is a minister, the pastor of a church. And also, we own a business, a funeral home," father Joe Banks said later Tuesday "We're not anything on the streets...about mishaps, mis-identity, anything. "

Banks is being represented by a public relations firm and some ministers from his community.

In all of 2010, police reportedly shot 46 people, 13 of whom died. In 2009, police reportedly shot 61 people, and 19 died. In 2008, reports indicate officers shot 55 people. Twenty-two of them were killed.

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