Was Adam Toledo Holding a Gun? What Police Bodycam Video Shows Us

The authorities in Chicago have alleged that Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old boy who was shot dead by a police officer on March 29, was carrying a firearm in the moments leading up to the deadly encounter.

In bodycam footage released on Thursday by the city's Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the police officer—identified in a tactical response report as Eric Stillman, aged 34—is seen getting out of a car at around 2:38 a.m. to run after Toledo and 21-year-old Ruben Roman. Stillman chases the 13-year-old down an alleyway while yelling orders to stop, as well as expletives.

The brief pursuit ends with Toledo stopping by a fence with one arm behind his back and an object in his hand. After Stillman yells, "Show me your f***ing hands" and "Drop it," the teenager raises both hands. They are empty, with the object having apparently been dropped.

The officer then fires a single shot in Toledo's chest. The footage continues with the 13-year-old lying on the ground bleeding from the mouth as Stillman attempts to keep him conscious.

A video compilation of the incident produced by the Chicago Police Department included a magnified freeze-frame of Toledo holding the grainy object behind his back, highlighted by a big red arrow that says "Firearm."

Earlier in the video, Roman and Toledo are seen in surveillance footage walking down a street together. In the next clip, which is magnified footage from a different surveillance camera, Roman appears to be firing approximately eight rounds. The first security camera then captured the pair fleeing the scene.

A ShotSpotter report was sent out, which led to police officers responding.

After showing footage of the encounter between Toledo and Stillman, the video compilation ends with a magnified freeze-frame, which appears to depict a discarded gun underneath a fence.

WGN TV has reported that during a bond hearing for Roman, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy implied that Toledo was holding a gun at the moment he was shot.

Murphy said: "The officer tells [Toledo] to drop it as [Toledo] turns towards the officer. [Toledo] has a gun in his right hand."

However, the state attorney's office has contradicted this description, WGN reported.

"An attorney who works in this office failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court," a spokesperson for Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx told the TV station.

A police tactical response report of the incident was included among the files released by the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Checked boxes next to Toledo's alleged actions include "imminent threat of battery with weapon" and "used force likely to cause death or great bodily harm."

The report also stated that the 13-year-old was armed with a "semi-auto pistol" that was "displayed, not used."

Stillman's response was marked as "defense of self," "overcome resistance or aggression" and "subject armed with weapon."

The U.S. has been rocked by grief and tensions following the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer on Sunday, as well as the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was visibly emotional during a press conference on Thursday as she urged residents of the city to exhibit restraint over the footage.

"Even as our understanding of this incident continues to evolve, this remains a complicated and nuanced story," she said. "And we all must proceed with deep empathy and calm and, importantly, peace."

Following the release of the files, John Catanzara, the president of Chicago's police union, told CNN he believed Stillman's actions to be "100 percent justified" and "actually heroic."

Adam Toledo memorial seen in Chicago
A small memorial is seen on April 15 in the Chicago neighborhood where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer. Bodycam footage of the shooting on March 29 has just been released. Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

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