A student and a mother have been shot dead by a Chicago police officer who was responding to a domestic disturbance call out, according to city authorities. Quintonio Legrier, 19, and Bettie Jones, 55, a mother of five children, both died in hospital early on Saturday (26 December).
Officers responded to a call at about 4.25am in West Side, and "were confronted by a combative subject", said Chicago police in a statement. The authorities have not revealed any further details about the shooting.
The shooting occurs as a federal civil rights investigation continues into the Chicago Police Department's use of firearms. The probe was launched earlier in December following release of a video showing a white police officer shooting a black youth, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, 16 times in 2014. The officer, Jason Van Dyke, has been charged with first-degree murder.
Both Legrier and Jones were African-American. So far Chicago police have not revealed the race of the police officer involved in Saturday's shooting.
A medical examiner's office spokesperson said that the victims' autopsies have not yet been timetabled. Legrier's mother, Janet Cooksey, told the Chicago Tribune that her son "didn't have a gun. He had a bat".
She said her son had been suffering from mental health issues, but that police did not have to react the way they did. She added: "We're thinking the police are going to service us, take him to the hospital. They took his life." Cooksey said her son was studying engineering at Northern Illinois University.
Antonio LeGrier, the father of Quintonio LeGrier, is alleged to have stated that the police officer who killed his son alongside Jones said that he had "messed up," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "F**k, no, no, no. I thought he was lunging at me with the bat," Antonio LeGrier was quoted as saying, as he recalled the words of the police officer during the moments following the shooting. LeGrier described the officer as "shooting blindly" into a doorway.
Since the McDonald shooting there have been continued protests calling for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Anytime an officer uses force the public deserves answers, and regardless of the circumstances we all grieve any time there is a loss of life in our city," said Emanuel in a statement. He added that the Independent Police Review Authority will be conducting an investigation into each of the shootings, and that findings will be shared with the state attorney's office.