CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A 25-year-old Indianapolis man was killed in a police-involved shooting in Mount Greenwood Saturday afternoon following what authorities said was a road rage incident involving a family who had just left a cemetery after burying a loved one.
Police sources say two off-duty officers fired their guns after becoming involved in an altercation after leaving the Mount Hope Cemetery, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. The incident, police said, began outside a firehouse in the 3100 block of West 111th Street when an off-duty firefighter complained about traffic blocking the fire lane.
In a brief appearance near the scene several hours after the shooting, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said a witness in a nearby business saw the altercation and called the police.
It was apparent the person who was shot had a weapon, Johnson told reporters, but at least one family member said the dead man never fired the weapon that he had a license to carry.
Investigators said late Saturday that they would be testing the man’s gun to see if it had been fired.
The man has been identified as 25-year-old Joshua Beal of the 400 block of West 33rd Road in Indianapolis, Indiana, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Beal was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died at 3:44 p.m., authorities said.
One of the man’s sisters and a witness unrelated to the family shared vastly different versions of what unfolded than the account given by authorities.
Beal’s sister Cordney Boxley said she other family members were in a funeral procession when an off-duty police officer, in an unmarked car, tried to run her 17-year-old sister, who was driving Beal’s car, off the road.
Some of the mourners pulled him over to ask what he was doing. He responded by pushing another female relative to the ground and pointing a gun to her face, Boxley said.
The man never identified himself as an officer either before the shooting or after when he attempted to flee the scene, Boxley said.
Boxley and other witnesses made no mention of a dispute with an off-duty firefighter.
Johnson declined to answer questions after the shooting but said it was being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority.
Boxley said after her female cousin was assaulted by the man they later learned was an officer, her male relatives initially ran over to see what was going on but then headed back to their cars.
That’s when the off-duty officer got out of his vehicle and started shooting Beal, who was in the 17-year-old sister’s car, Boxley said.
She said the officer went to the passenger’s side where Beal was sitting, opened the door, pulled him out the car and continued to empty his entire clip on him.
A second officer tried to revive her brother after he was shot, Cordney said.
A witness who was on her way to a nearby barbershop said the officer who shot the man was in a vehicle when he fired.
The woman took two videos of the shooting. About dozen gunshots can be heard on the recording.
According to the police, the incident began about 3 p.m. when the off-duty Chicago firefighter argued with motorists who were in a funeral procession and blocking a fire lane.
The altercation became “verbal and physical,” police said.
An off-duty police officer was in a barbershop and saw the fight. He went into the street and identified himself as a cop, said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
A sergeant driving to work at the nearby Morgan Park police station stopped and got out of his vehicle. The sergeant also announced he was a cop, Guglielmi said. In an earlier news release, the department said the sergeant observed “a male with a firearm in his hand.”
Both the off-duty officer and the sergeant pulled their weapons and fired at a man holding a gun when he failed to drop the weapon, Guglielmi said.
It’s unclear whether one or both of them hit the man, he said.
“Police suspect the offender’s weapon was fired or misfired during the exchange and we are testing it,” Guglielmi said.
He said the off-duty officer was injured in the melee and was sent to a hospital for treatment. The sergeant was not seriously injured, he said.
“The officer(s) involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for a period of 30 days,” police said in a statement.
Late Saturday night, about 30 Black Lives Matter activists and residents of the mostly white Mount Greenwood neighborhood squared off at each other at 111th and Kedzie, not far from the fatal shooting.
Eventually, the Black Lives Matter group left the scene to head to another location.