Family files wrongful death lawsuit after assistant principal shot by CCL holder in Loop high-rise

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Family files lawsuit after asst. principal fatally shot in high-rise
The family of Abnerd Joseph has filed a wrongful death lawsuit after the Intrinsic assistant principal was shot by a CCL holder in a Loop high-rise.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The family of a Chicago assistant principal has filed a wrongful death lawsuit after the man was shot by a CCL holder.

It was eight months ago on Tuesday that Abnerd Joseph was shot and killed by a neighbor inside his own high-rise building here in the Loop.

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The neighbor that shot Joseph has not been criminally charged.

To have him taken away from us like that, and no answers, no nothing... it's just heartbreaking
Bryan Biename, brother of Abnerd Joseph

Even though a civil lawsuit is now being filed in the matter, there are still more questions than answers as police continue to classify it as an open investigation.

Until his death last September, Joseph was a popular assistant principal at Intrinsic Charter High School in the Loop.

"He did everything right. He went to school. He didn't get in trouble with the law," Joseph's sister, Jeanne Joseph Kelly, said. "He worked hard for everything that he had, and that is the most heartbreaking part."

Joseph was, according to Chicago police, shot multiple times in the hallway of his own building, The Legacy of Millennium Park, on the evening of September 14, 2023.

A civil lawsuit filed Wednesday names the building's owners, management and security, as well as a tenant who they say shot and killed Joseph while Joseph was in the throes of an emotional distress event. ABC7 is not identifying the tenant because he has not been criminally charged.

RELATED | No charges filed against CCL holder who fatally shot asst. principal as investigation continues: CPD

Joseph was, according to police, behaving erratically, knocking on neighbors doors and causing a disturbance.

"He was in his socks, bathrobe and boxer shorts, so we know he was unarmed," said attorney Antonio Romanucci with Romanucci & Blandin.

According to the lawsuit, rather than wait for police, who had already been called, the building's security guard allowed two other tenants, including one who was armed, to help seek Joseph out, leading to the eventual confrontation on the building's 48th floor.

While the police report, seen by ABC7, says Joseph punched the security guard and the two tenants in the face, attorneys insist the fault still lies with them. The police report also stated the shooter has a valid Concealed Carry License.

"What you do in that situation is you step back and de-escalate and you give time," Romanucci said. "Time is your best friend in these situations. Even if it means locking everyone down and leaving him alone in the hallway."

Even as the civil lawsuit may bring the family some form of financial compensation, they are still calling on the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to file criminal charges against the shooter.

"To have him taken away from us like that, and no answers, no nothing... it's just heartbreaking," the victim's brother Bryan Biename said.

The State's Attorney's Office will not say why charges have not been filed, other than to state that police say it is an open investigation.

ABC7 has reached out to everyone named in the lawsuit, but have not yet received responses.