16-year-old boy accused in retired Chicago officer's murder was on home confinement: prosecutors

New details were released in court Tuesday morning in connection to the fatal shooting of a retired Chicago police officer that occurred last week on the city's West Side. 

On Monday, Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling along with Chief of Detectives Antoinette Ursitti and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced first-degree murder charges against 16-year-old Lazarius Watt in the killing of 73-year-old Larry Neuman.

Authorities said Watt will be charged as an adult. Police are still searching for a second suspect.

The charges come after Neuman, who was the department's longest-serving explosives technician, was mowing his lawn at his home in the 4300 block of West Monroe Street with another individual around 11:30 a.m. on June 20.

When the two were finished mowing the lawn, Neuman went inside his home to get money to pay the individual who helped him, said Assistant District Attorney Ann McCord.

When Neuman returned to give the individual money, he relayed that two people were approaching them and had ski masks on. Additionally, he noted that the two were carrying guns.

Watt's co-defendant, who is still on the run, then approached Neuman and told him to freeze as he reached out to grab him. Neuman backed up and reached for his own gun when the co-defendant grabbed his gun and fired shots.

The individual who was helping Neuman that day saw Watt also point a gun at Neuman. Neuman was able to fire a single round before falling to the ground. He was struck in the chest and the leg.

The individual with Neuman was unharmed and hopped over a fence to escape.

Neuman's wife heard a commotion and ran outside, where she found her husband on the ground. Police responded to the scene, where they located Neuman on the ground suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

From the scene, police recovered Neuman's 40 caliber, along with four 9mm shell casings and one 40mm shell casing. 

Following the shooting, police recovered surveillance video that allegedly captured both Watt and his co-defendant.

Additionally, a witness on a bike rode past Neuman's house right before the shooting, and the witness exchanged pleasantries with Neuman. The witness later saw the two defendants exiting the alley and stated that Watt was one of the individuals. The witness said they knew Watt from the neighborhood and identified him in a lineup.

Another neighbor allegedly saw Watt and his co-defendant flee the scene.

Four other witnesses allegedly identified Watt from the neighborhood and from the school where he attended. 

On Sunday, just days after the shooting, Watt turned himself in to police. A member of the community accompanied the teen as he turned himself in, authorities said. 

McCord noted that Watt is being screened as a juvenile for another crime — aggravated vehicular hijacking. According to McCord, police identified him as one of two individuals who allegedly carjacked a 2023 Volkswagen on March 3 around 4:10 p.m. The victims inside the carjacked vehicle ranged in age from 10 to 63. The vehicle was later recovered.

Watt also has a pending case for possession of a stolen vehicle and unlawful use of a weapon. 

In relation to that case, Watt was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle on Interstate 290 on July 25, 2023, at about 2:44 a.m. Watt ended up in a high-speed chase with the Illinois State Police (ISP) and it exceeded 120 mph. 

Watt allegedly crashed the vehicle near I-290 and Morgan. At that time, Watt allegedly tried to flee the scene, but he was apprehended. Inside the vehicle, police found a loaded Glock. 

Watt was arraigned on July 25, 2023, and released on electronic monitoring on Oct. 1, 2023. Between Dec. 16, 2023, and Dec. 23, 2023, McCord said he violated his electronic monitoring several times.

Then, on Feb. 15, 2023, he had three more electronic monitoring violations. At that time, his electronic monitoring was vacated and he was placed on home confinement. 

On June 14, 2024, his home confinement was extended, and the case was continued until July 24. 

Sources told FOX 32 Chicago that the second suspect graduated with Watt from the same elementary school on the city's West Side.

Neuman's funeral services are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.