Mother Of 13-Year-Old Killed By Police Wants Video Released Of Her ‘Baby’s’ Shooting

In an emotional press conference, the mother of Adam Toledo said her son still loved Legos and Hot Wheels.

Elizabeth Toledo
Elizabeth Toledo, whose 13-year-old son Adam Toledo was shot and killed by Chicago police earlier this week, appears at a press conference on April 2. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
Elizabeth Toledo
Elizabeth Toledo, whose 13-year-old son Adam Toledo was shot and killed by Chicago police earlier this week, appears at a press conference on April 2. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

Mother Of 13-Year-Old Killed By Police Wants Video Released Of Her ‘Baby’s’ Shooting

In an emotional press conference, the mother of Adam Toledo said her son still loved Legos and Hot Wheels.

The mother of a 13-year-old boy fatally shot by Chicago Police is calling for the video of her son’s shooting to be released and for the truth about her son’s death.

“I just want to know what really happened to my baby,” Elizabeth Toledo said before choking back a sob during an emotional press conference Friday afternoon.

Police shot Adam Toledo in the Little Village community in the early hours of Monday morning. They say it followed an “armed confrontation.”

Toledo’s lawyer, Adeena J. Weiss-Ortiz, translated from Spanish for Toledo. She said her son still played with Hot Wheels and Legos in his Little Village home, and had no criminal history. She said the police have told her nothing about how her son died.

In a reversal, the Chicago agency tasked with investigating police shootings on Friday said it now planned to release the body camera video of the shooting. On Thursday, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, said it was trying to figure out a way to legally release the video after saying it was prohibited because Adam was a minor. However, by Friday afternoon, COPA changed its stance and said it will release the video soon. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Supt. David Brown also said they support releasing the video.

Weiss-Ortiz said the family expects to have a meeting with the city next week to review the video.

According to police, officers were dispatched to an area in the Little Village neighborhood on the city’s Southwest Side around 2:30 am Monday after detecting the sound of gunfire nearby. When they arrived, they said Toledo and a 21-year-old man ran away. While chasing the teen, there was an “armed confrontation” during which the officer shot him once in the chest. He died at the scene. The 21-year-old man was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

Police said investigators recovered a gun near the shooting scene, but the department hasn’t said whether the teen fired it or was holding it during the chase. The officer was placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in police shootings. But police haven’t released the name of the officer who shot the teen.

The shooting left the surrounding community rattled and angry.

“There is something really wrong with the police when the first reaction is to shoot before de-escalating the situation,” said Mayra Galvez, who was out walking Friday morning near Gary Elementary, where Adam went to school.

“A lot of our youth are scared of the police, and sometimes their reaction is to run because they don’t see the police as people who would protect them.”

Adam’s mother said he had four siblings, who range in age from 11 to 24. She said she last saw him when she put him to bed Sunday night in a room he shared with his younger brother. Toledo had reported the boy missing to police on Saturday, but said he returned home on Sunday, Weiss-Ortiz said. A police spokesman says Adam was reported missing on Friday. The missing person’s case was closed after Elizabeth Toledo told police her son had returned home.

The police spokesman Don Terry said it was only after detectives started going through closed missing person cases that they identified Adam as the boy killed and reached out to the mother. It was then, according to Terry, that Elizabeth Toledo told police her son was missing again.

At Friday’s press conference, Toledo’s lawyer said the mother was feeling judged by the community and wanted to share that she was a full-time mother to her five children.

“She’s also requesting privacy,” Weiss-Ortiz said, “so that she has time to mourn and grieve the loss of her son.”

Kate Grossman is WBEZ’s education editor. Follow her @WBEZeducation and @KateGrossman1.

Reporters Adriana Cardona-Maguigad, Linda Lutton and Patrick Smith contributed reporting to this story.