Boy, 13, fatally shot by Chicago police officer in 'armed confrontation' in Little Village

Mayor Lightfoot calls for release of bodycam video that captured fatal shooting

ByMark Rivera, Cheryl Burton, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, April 2, 2021
Boy, 13, fatally shot by Chicago police in Little Village
Adam Toledo, 13, was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in Little Village Monday during what police called an "armed confrontation."

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling for the release of bodycam video after a 13-year-old boy was fatally shot by police in Little Village during what police called an "armed confrontation" earlier this week.

The teen was identified Thursday as Adam Toledo of Little Village by the Cook County medical examiner's office.

"He was so full of life," said Elizabeth Toledo, his mother. "They just took it away from him."

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Toledo was overwhelmed with loss and surrounded by family as she planned her 13-year-old son's funeral.

"I just want justice. I just want answers ... what happened?" Toledo said. "I just want justice for my son. That's all."

Adam Toledo was shot and killed by police Monday after an early morning Shot Spotter alert in the 2300-block of South Sawyer.

Officers say the 13-year-old was armed and fled from police with another suspect.

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Adam Toledo, 13, was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in Little Village Monday during what police called an "armed confrontation."

Toledo's life ended in an alley after what Chicago police say was an "armed confrontation." The officer fired one shot, according to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).

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Police shared a photo of a gun allegedly recovered at the scene. A second suspect, 21-year-old Ruben Roman, is charged in the incident with a misdemeanor for resisting an officer.

Toledo's mom said he used to sneak out at night while she was asleep and had filed a missing person's report for her son last Thursday after she noticed he was missing.

She told ABC7 that Toledo eventually came back on Saturday, but had snuck out again Sunday night.

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"Why did he shot at him if there's other ways?" Toledo said.

The incident was caught on body camera video, but is unable to be released without a court order given Toledo's young age, according to COPA.

A spokesperson for COPA said in an updated statement late Thursday: "COPA is currently making every effort and researching all legal avenues that will allow for the public release of all video materials which capture the tragic fatal shooting of 13 year old Adam Toledo."

"He was a little boy. Obviously he was gonna get scared," his mother said.

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Toledo's mom said he had aspirations of becoming a police officer one day.

The officer involved in the shooting was placed on desk duty for 30 days while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates the shooting, police said.


On March 29, 2021 the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) received notification from the Chicago Police Department of an officer-involved shooting near 2400 S. Sawyer. COPA investigators arrived at the scene and immediately commenced an investigation.

While COPA is in the very early stages of this investigation, it has been determined that officers were responding to the area as a result of shots fired and encountered two suspects. Both individuals fled resulting in a foot pursuit by Chicago Police Department officers. One male was apprehended and remains in police custody. The other individual who fled was shot and killed by the pursuing officer. The involved officer discharged his weapon once and the incident has been captured on body worn camera. The deceased individual has been identified as, Adam Toledo, who is reportedly 13 years of age.

Due to the age of the victim, absent the issuance of a court order and pursuant to the Juvenile Court Act (705 ILCS 405/5-905(5)), COPA is prevented from publicly releasing videos involving a juvenile. Materials that can be released including 911 calls, OEMC transmissions, Tactical Response and Incident Reports will be released within 60 days of the incident and in accordance with the City's Video Release Policy.

COPA's is committed to a full and thorough investigation into the officer's use of deadly force to determine if their actions were in accordance with Department policy and training and asks for the public's patience.


COPA is currently making every effort and researching all legal avenues that will allow for the public release of all video materials which capture the tragic fatal shooting of 13 year old Adam Toledo.

COPA's commitment to transparency remains unwavering, one of our core values and paramount to our ability to build and sustain trust.

The death of 13 year old Adam Toledo is tragic and we have all been saddened by this incident. COPA has been in contact with the Toledo family and will provide the family a review of all video materials.

We are committed to releasing video materials to the extent legally possible and as a part of our commitment to transparency and building public trust.


My greatest fear as the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department has been a deadly encounter between one of our own and a juvenile especially given the recent rise in violent crimes involving juveniles throughout our city. Unfortunately, this fear became a reality earlier this week. Any loss of life is tragic, especially when it involves youth. On behalf of the entire Chicago Police Department, I extend my condolences to the family of the juvenile, who was fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer in the early morning hours of Monday, March 29, 2021. I'm not naming this young man because I do not want to violate his privacy as a juvenile.

The split-second decision to use deadly force is extremely difficult for any officer, and is always a heavy burden to bear for officers involved in fatal shooting incidents. We fully support the investigation being conducted by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), and adamantly call for the release of any and all video, including body-worn camera footage, related to the incident, as permitted by laws pertaining to juveniles.

The specifics of the incident, including the comprehensive use of force investigation, are being investigated by COPA with full cooperation of the Chicago Police Department. The officer involved has been placed on routine administrative duty for a period of 30 days. This matter is under investigation, and all further inquiries can be directed to COPA at (312) 746-3609.


"As a mother of a thirteen-year-old myself, I can only imagine the incredible pain this boy's parents are experiencing at this moment. My heart goes out to them. The facts and the circumstances around this case are under investigation, but we must ask ourselves how our social safety net failed this boy leading to the tragic events in the early hours of Monday morning.

While the investigation is ongoing, it is critically important that COPA releases relevant videos first to the family, and then to the public, as quickly as possible with appropriate protections given his age. Because his family and the public will undoubtedly have many questions, we must release any relevant videos as soon as possible. Recognizing that these are the most complex cases that COPA investigates, transparency and speed are crucial."


"Adam Toledo was killed early Monday morning, due to the unreasonable conduct of a Chicago Police Officer. We are confident that the Chicago Police Department and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability will conduct a thorough investigation, that there will be transparency, and that Toledo Family will find out the truth of what happened to Adam. Adam was killed on March 29th, 2021, but the Toledo Family was only notified of his death two days later. Adam was a seventh grade student at Garvey School, enjoyed sports and was a good kid. He did not deserve to die the way he did. The Toledo Family will seek justice for this reprehensible crime and requests privacy during this time of mourning. The Toledo Family is represented by Weiss Ortiz PC."

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this article.