Family of teen shot on Red Line sues police

September 22, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Officers fatally shot George Lash, 19, early Saturday morning. Police said Lash pointed a gun at them, but witnesses say they never saw Lash with a gun. Police say a weapon was recovered at the scene.

Lash's adoptive parents say the only way they can get answers to exactly what happened early Saturday morning aboard a train full of passengers is to file a lawsuit.

Overcome with emotion, Carmella Lash-Cross sat silent as her attorney talked about the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Cross's son, George.

The teen was shot multiple times by two Chicago police officers early Saturday morning on the CTA Red Line.

Police say Lash pointed a gun at them, but witnesses have come forward telling a different story.

"We have sworn statements now from witnesses that have been taken in this case that they did not see a weapon at any time prior to George being shot," said attorney Antonio Romanucci.

"I'm grateful for people to be able to come forward to - someone to give some justification to my son losing his life," said Kenneth Cross, Lash's stepfather.

The shooting took place at 55th and the Dan Ryan. Police say they were called by a conductor who reported that a passenger had a gun. The conductor gave police a description and directed the officers to the train car where the offender was last seen.

"If they came on the train and they had a description and they who they was looking for instead of grabbing the first young black teenage boy they see when they come on the train, he wouldn't be dead right now," said Lash's friend Joseph Wilson.

Lash's best friend Joseph Wilson is convinced the shooting is a case of mistaken identity. Wilson said Lash left his West Side home 45 minutes before the shooting and headed to the South Side on the el.

"He left my house at 12:40, 12:45 at night," said Wilson. Wilson said that as far as he knew, Lash did not have a gun.

Lash was raised by Carmella Lash-Cross since he was 2 years old. Cross eventually adopted him, but Wilson said that for the past 3 years, Lash had little to do with his adoptive family and moved back to the West Side, closer to his biological family.

Wilson says Lash was turning his life around.

"He was getting it together - not he was going to get it together - he was getting it together," said Wilson. "He was in school - we have school records that prove it."

Wilson says Lash had been living with his family for the past 3 years. Wilson questions Lash's adoptive family's motive for filing a lawsuit.

The incident is being investigated by the Independent Police Review Board.

In the meantime, Chicago Police are not commenting any further on the shooting, and the city's Law Department cannot comment because they have not received the lawsuit yet.

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