The mother of Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old boy killed by police on March 29, is speaking out about the death of her son. He was shot in the chest by an officer in the Little Village community of Chicago, and now his grieving mom wants to know “what really happened” to her son and why he was killed by police. Video footage of the incident was recently released, at the request of Elizabeth Toledo.
Chicago police haven’t released many details about the incident, other than to say officers were responding to an alert that shots were being fired, and called the incident an “armed confrontation.”
In harrowing video footage recently released of the incident, Adam, who was just in seventh grade, is seen being chased down an alley before being shot and killed by an officer. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
What makes this story even more heartbreaking is that Adam was dead for two days before his mom, Elizabeth, was notified. She had initially reported her son missing a few days before the shooting took place. Two days after her son was killed, police reached out to her and her family to ask for a photo of Adam. She assumed they were asked for a missing persons report, according to Block Club Chicago. Soon after, police arrived at her home and requested that she go to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office to identify her son’s body. According to police, it took two days to identify the boy.
“They told me I had to identify my son’s body and I couldn’t even see him, they showed me a picture of my son Adam for just a couple of seconds,” his mother said.
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In a GoFundMe page she created for Adam’s memorial, Elizabeth talked about the kind of boy her son was and grieved for a life cut way too short. In a devastating twist of fate, she says her son wanted to be a police officer when he grew up.
“Adam had many dreams that he will never get to live out,” the boy’s mother Elizabeth Toledo wrote. “Ironically one of his dreams was to become a police officer. It weighs heavy on our hearts to be planning our last goodbyes instead of watching him grow up and live out those dreams.”
Though the shooting took place in March, the newly-released footage of the events leading up to and including the shooting was released last week, drawing a firestorm of attention to the killing of a 13-year-old boy.
On April 15, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released the video, along with accompanying CCTV footage of the altercation. In a press conference, Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, warned the public that the video was “excruciating” to watch.
The video shows that Adam appeared to be unarmed in the moment he was shot, and his hands were up and visible. Officer Adam Stillman was the officer that shot Adam, and has since been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, reckless discharge of a firearm, and child endangerment. In the footage, it looks as though the 13-year-old threw something behind a fence, which police later confirmed was a handgun—which he did not have in his possession at the time he was shot by Stillman.
In a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times, Elizabeth described her son as an imaginative child who liked to crack jokes, ride his bike, eat Taco Bell, watch Spongebob Squarepants, and learn about zombies. A mother should never have to eulogize her own child, though no one can honor their child better than a mother.
Adam Toledo was thirteen years old.
Tamir Rice was twelve.
Adam and Tamir had their entire lives ahead of them, a… https://t.co/Imp55nV36H
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown)
Unfortunately for Elizabeth and the rest of Adam’s family, so many questions are still left unanswered about what led police to shoot and kill a 13-year-old boy. He was allegedly in the presence of a 21-year-old Ruben Roman, who was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, as well as the endangerment of a child and violating probation, according to NBC Chicago. Mayor Lightfoot says there is “currently no evidence whatsoever” that Adam Toledo fired a gun at police.
Now a mother will grieve for her son for the rest of her life, and she may never know why.
“I just want to know what really happened to my baby,” Elizabeth told NBC Chicago. “They had a lot of options, but not kill him. They could have shot him in his legs, his arms, up in the air, I don’t know but not kill my baby.”
You can donate to Adam Toledo’s memorial fund here.