Chicago police chief says teen fired at officers before he was shot and killed

May 6, 2013

Patrick Smith

(WBEZ/Patrick Smith)
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy speaks at a press conference on gun control Monday.

Family members say a 16-year-old shot and killed by Chicago police Sunday had a history of mental illness.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters that police chased Tywon Jones after he fired into a crowd shortly after 4 p.m. in the 1300 block of South Independence Boulevard on the West Side.

“This kid was shooting into a crowd … and when the kid became aware that the officers were following him he turned the firearm on the car and fired at my officers a couple of times. They returned fire and unfortunately the kid expired,” McCarthy said at a press conference Monday.  The press conference was about the department’s effort to get guns off the street.

Jones’ stepfather Kevin Bell said the teen was taking medication for bipolar disorder. Bell said Jones, who lived on the 1600 block of South Hamlin Avenue, had gotten into some trouble with police before, but he described him as a normal teenager.

McCarthy said this was “not the first time” Jones had a run in with police, but he didn’t know if the officers were aware of Jones’ mental illness.

“Somebody who may have a history of mental illness, if they’re pointing a firearm at you, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

McCarthy said the incident was another example of the importance of getting “guns out of violent criminals’ hands.”

“If these weapons were not on the street, this [wouldn’t have happened]. It couldn’t be simpler,” McCarthy said.

Dave Miranda, a spokesman for Chicago Public Schools, said Jones was not an active student in CPS, and the last school he attended was the Nancy B. Jefferson School at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

No one else was hit in the shooting, McCarthy said.  The superintendent said  he did not know how many times Jones fired before officers shot him.

Larry Merritt, a spokesman for the city’s Independent Police Review Authority, said the authority is investigating the shooting.

This is the 18th time someone was shot by Chicago police this year, Merritt said. Last year there were 50 such shootings.

Police union spokesman Pat Camden said when a police officer shoots someone it is “a very, very traumatic experience.”

Any officer involved in such a shooting is required to undergo counseling, Camden said.