In an instant, a 13-year-old’s life end.
Police chased Adam Toledo and another man in a Chicago alley last month. Officer Eric Stillman followed Toledo to a fence, where he demanded to see the boy’s hands. A blink of an eye later, a shot was fired, Toledo crumpled to the ground and his life ended.
“We got a gunshot victim, gunshots fired by the police,” Stillman said as he called for aid. “Where you shot, man? Where you shot? Stay with me, stay with me. Someone bring the medical kit now. Fuck. I need a medical kit.”
The shooting and final moments of Toledo’s life were captured on body camera footage that officials released on April 15. The footage also includes video from dozens of officers who responded to the scene to provide aid.
“I’m going to start CPR, I’m not feeling a heartbeat,” Stillman said as officers gave chest compression.
It was too late.
On March 29, Chicago police responded to the 2400 block of S. Sawyer Ave. after a shots fired call around 2:30 a.m., according to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Officers found two people, who ran and police gave chase. One of the people was armed, police said.
The video showed officers arriving in a car and giving chase. Stillman towards the adult suspect and shoves him to the ground. Stillman ran after Toledo and the audio starts.
“Police stop. Stop right fucking now,” Stillman yelled. “Hands. Show me your fucking hands…”
Toledo started to turn towards the officer. His hands raised. It’s unclear from the body camera footage if anything is in either.
“Drop it! Drop!..” Stillman yelled, then the shot is fired.
The exchange happened in seconds. Toledo is barely turned around when the officer shot him. The teen’s body fell to the ground, his head rested near a curb to a gravel yard. Stillman called in the shooting and went to the 13-year-old.
“Shots fire shots fired we need an ambulance now,” Stillman said. “Look at me, look at me. You alright? Where are you shot?”
Toledo is seen on the footage gasping for air as the blood comes from his mouth and nose. His final few breathes are captured in the footage. The officer calls for medical aid and then starts to perform CPR.
Other officers arrive and they continue to provide CPR as they yelled for Toledo to stay awake.
“I’m going to start CPR, I’m not feeling a heartbeat,” Stillman said.
For several minutes officers tried to provide CPR and others take over for Stillman. The officer wanders around the scene, pacing back and forth as his fellow cops try to save Toledo. Another officer talks Stillman in the yard and convinces him to sit down. Stillman finds a spot in the gravel yard and takes a seat, his elbows on his knees and his hands in front of him.
It’s then, the video ends as Stillman shuts off his camera.
REACTIONS TO FOOTAGE
The Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the shooting and asked for “calm and peace” in the aftermath of the footage’s release.
The agency first said it would not release the body camera footage. A day later, the agency reversed course and said it would release the body cameras. They initially cited Toledo’s age as the reason to withhold the video.
The shooting sparked protests in Chicago and other places. It comes in the wake of several other high-profile police shootings. The release also happened as Derek Chauvin faces trial in Minnesota for his alleged role in George Floyd’s death during a May 2020 arrest.
Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said at an April press conference that an armed confrontation between one of his officers and a juvenile was his greatest fear.
“That fear became a reality on March 29, 2021, with the death of Adam Toledo,” Brown said.
City officials and the Toledo family have called for peace in the shooting’s aftermath. The Toledo family saw the body camera footage earlier this week, according to the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
“I have seen those videos and they are incredibly difficult to watch,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at an April 15 press conference.
Lightfoot said she’s seen other police shooting videos and the moments are never easy. She called for the public to first think about Toledo and what his family has been through.
“I also that each of us give them space to grieve. No parent should ever have a video broadcast widely of their last moments,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said she didn’t want to get into the specifics of the shooting, but there was no evidence Toledo fired at police.
“When you see, and I urge you to watch it, watch all the footage, you're going to see that officer sprang into action to try to revive," she said