Video shows off-duty Chicago police officer fatally shoot attacker in Brainerd
CHICAGO - Chicago officials released videos of an off-duty police officer fatally shooting a man who attacked her last month in the Brainerd neighborhood.
The off-duty cop shouted "I’ll kill you" before fatally shooting 39-year-old Leevon Smith, who grabbed for her gun during a struggle on Jan. 18 in Washington Heights on the South Side, video released Thursday shows.
"Didn’t I just say I’d kill you," the officer says after the third and final shot is fired. "Didn’t I just say I’d kill you?"
At about 12:53 p.m., the off-duty officer approached four people who appeared to be in a fight in front of an apartment building in the 1300 block of West 90th Street, police said. Three of the four walked away and one remained talking to the officer.
At the 6:53 mark in the video, you see the officer begin to walk past Smith who then appears to grab her and they struggle with one another over her gun.
"I’ll kill you," the officer yells before firing two shots.
"You got me. You got me," Smith says.
"I told your dumb— I’d kill you," the officer says as she fires a third shot.
"Baby, I’m sorry," Smith responds. "I’m sorry. … I don’t want to die."
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The officer then yells for someone to call the police while continuing to scream at Smith. At no point is the officer seen offering aid to the wounded man.
"I told your dumb— I’d shoot you," the officer yells. "You tried to steal my f—ing gun. I don’t give no f— about him. He just tried to rob me."
Before the ambulance arrives, the officer is seen walking into the building, then coming back out while on the phone. When an emergency crew pulls up, one of them asks her, "Where’d you hit him?"
"I don’t know," the officer replies.
An arrest report shows the cop told responding officers that the shooting happened after she witnessed "a verbal argument." She said Smith grabbed her from behind and reached for her gun "in an attempt to disarm her."
She and Smith eventually fell to the ground while struggling for the gun, the report states. The officer then opened fire, striking Smith in his abdomen and left hand. Smith was taken into custody and brought to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead on Jan. 20.
A tactical response report states that Smith posed an "imminent threat of battery" without a weapon and physically attacked the officer. It also claims she was ambushed with "no warning" and fired a total of three shots.
The officer was treated for a laceration above her right eye at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, according to the arrest report.
Records show she joined the police force last June. The Sun-Times isn’t naming her because she hasn’t formally been accused of wrongdoing.
A 911 call released by COPA appears to capture the initial interaction between Smith and the group of people before the shooting. "Just give me my bag back, bro," someone is heard saying during an argument captured on the call.
In another call, someone else tells a dispatcher that a person was being held for police after he tried to rob a woman. The shooting is then reported in separate 911 calls, one of which references a prior fight in the area.
"There’s a lady outside with a gun and she shot somebody. … She’s going inside with the gun," one caller said.
The officer ultimately calls 911 herself and reports that she shot Smith as he tried to rob her. "I’m trying to call my bosses, but ain’t no one answering for me," she said.
"F— it, I can’t believe this just happened to me," she said before telling first responders that she was cop and Smith had tried to steal her "off-duty gun."
A day before Smith died, Cook County prosecutors approved felony charges against him, the arrest report shows. He faced counts of attempted robbery and aggravated battery, but the charges don’t appear in county court records.
Smith’s estate filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer on Feb. 3, pushing for a judgment of $10 million.
The officer, who isn’t named in the suit, allegedly used "excessive and violent physical force" and "knew or should have known that such force was not necessary in light of the circumstances," according to the complaint.
The suit claims that Smith’s "estate was diminished by virtue of the medical and funeral expenses that were incurred," adding that his family "suffered injuries as a result of his death, including, but not limited to, the loss of companionship and society, grief, sorrow and mental anguish."
"When I heard the shot, I was just like hey, hit the ground and call the police again!" said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
"The tussle that they had, almost had me in tears because she’s a tiny little person. I’m glad that she was able to keep herself together and do what she needed to do to come out alive," said the unidentified neighbor.
The officer involved was placed on routine administrative duties for a period of 30 days.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.