Family claims man fatally shot by Chicago police in South Austin was defending himself from attack

Police say Tracey Watson was stabbing another man before officers ordered him to drop his weapon

Cate Cauguiran Image
Thursday, May 30, 2024
Family claims man shot, killed by Chicago police was defending himself
Relatives of Tracey Watson, killed in a Chicago police-involved shooting Monday in South Austin, claim he was defending himself from an attack.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A stabbing suspect was shot and killed in a police-involved shooting Monday night on the city's West Side. The suspect's family spoke to ABC7 on Wednesday.

Chicago police say the suspect, Tracey Watson, attempted to stab a man on the street around 11 p.m. in the 300-block of South Cicero Avenue in South Austin. Watson's family claims there's more to the story.

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Watson's family said the father of four was defending himself and his cousin who were attacked by two men before the deadly police shooting.

The family has been painstakingly going through surveillance video showing the moments Watson was killed.

"It was self-defense because he got hit twice," Watson's cousin, Daniel Henry, said. "He wasn't the aggressor."

Henry said Watson and another cousin were waiting at bus stop at Cicero and Gladys when two men confronted Tracey about urinating in public. He said one of the men punched Tracey in the face before running away.

Tracey and the cousin he was with ran after them into a vacant lot before the men violently attacked Tracey, a second time, according to Henry.

"They stopped again, picked up a bottle and then when my two cousins caught up to them, they hit my cousin Tracey in the face with a bottle," Henry said.

Watson's family said the two men who allegedly attacked him then flagged down a passing police car, as could be seen on surveillance video.

"After you see the guy trying to flag police down, and then my cousin started walking up, they started saying, 'oh he got a gun,' that my cousin Claudell had a gun, but he didn't have a gun," Henry said.

Henry identified the man seen on the video wearing light-colored pants as Watson's cousin, Claudell, who appears to be swatted by another man.

"When my cousin Claudell came up to the two guys, like 'what's going on?' The guy see he didn't have a gun, so he tried to swing on him again, and that's when my cousin Tracey came up and started fighting with him," Henry said.

The man then can be seen tripping and falling to the ground. Police said what happened next was a violent attack. Tracey repeatedly stabbed the other as he laid in the street, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Then, more than 10 seconds passed, and in that time, police said officers standing with guns drawn repeatedly ordered the alleged assailant to drop his weapon. Police said when he refused to cease, the officers fired and Tracey fell to the ground.

"My cousin said they never said 'drop the knife' or nothing," Henry said. "He said they didn't hear none of that. He said he was trying to tell them tase them before they started wrestling."

Watson's family said it wasn't a simple story of an altercation with a knife, but it was a story of a father trying to defend himself and his cousin.

"He got four kids, and that's who he was living for, so now his kids ain't going to know him," Henry said. "What do we tell those kids?"

ABC7 reached out again to the Chicago Police Department after speaking with Henry on Wednesday. Police referred to their original statement on what happened.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability continues to investigate the police shooting.

As for the stabbing victim, at last check, he remains at Stroger Hospital, listed in critical condition.