Chicago : A Chicago police officer responding to a domestic disturbance call accidentally shot and killed a 55-year-old woman, who was among two people fatally wounded by police gunfire, the department said.
Relatives said Bettie Jones lived downstairs from Quintonio LeGrier, the 19-year-old who prompted the initial call to police and who also was killed.
Officers who responded to the call “were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon,” the Chicago Police Department said in a brief statement.
“The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed,” reads the statement, which extends “deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends.”
The shooting happened around 4:25 am, police said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office and family members said Jones, a mother of five who had hosted family for Christmas, and LeGrier, a college student home for holiday break, were pronounced dead at hospitals within an hour. Both Jones and LeGrier were black, the medical examiner’s office said.
Police did not immediately disclose the race of the officer, saying in a statement only that officers involved in the incident will be placed on administrative duties for 30 days while “training and fitness for duty requirements can be conducted.”
The shooting comes amid ongoing scrutiny of police after a series of deaths of African-Americans at the hands of officers gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Chicago Police Department also is under a federal civil rights investigation that will look into patterns of racial disparity in the use of force.
The federal investigation, which also will review how the department disciplines officers and handles misconduct accusations, launched after last month’s release of police dashcam video showing white officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014.
The video’s release has led to protests, the forced resignation of former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and calls from residents for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down.
It is not clear whether there are any video recordings of today’s shootings.