A 22-year-old man who was gunned down by a Chicago police officer shouted “Why are you shooting me?” during the fatal encounter, according to body cam footage released Wednesday.
Anthony Alvarez was fatally shot by a police officer after a foot chase allegedly connected to a previous crime. Alvarez appeared to be carrying a firearm, authorities said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and attorneys for the family of Alvarez had urged for calm ahead of the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability putting out the footage.
One of the clips from an officer’s bodycam shows the cop chasing Alvarez in the early hours of March 31.
As Alvarez appears to reach the front lawn of a house, the cop shouts “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!” before firing at least five times.
“Why you shooting me?” Alvarez asked as he lay writhing in pain on the ground.
The officer responded: “You had a gun.”
“I’m gonna die,” Alvarez can be heard saying as he struggles to look at his cellphone.
Officers then move to treat his wounds, with one telling Alvarez “Stop moving! I’m trying to help you” and “Stay with me dude.”
Blood quickly begins soaking through Alvarez’s clothing and pours onto the ground.
The cop can be heard telling other officers that Alvarez was armed and points to a gun on the ground, warning “Don’t touch it.”
Alvarez’s family, who viewed the footage on Tuesday, said they are still waiting for the department to say what their loved one did to justify a foot chase that ended with him being gunned down.
“I can’t believe he is gone. I just want some answers; why did they do this to Anthony?” Alvarez’s dad, Oscar Martinez, said in a statement released Wednesday.
During a news conference before the video was released, Lightfoot referred to a traffic offense.
“We can’t live in a world where a minor traffic offense results in someone being shot and killed,” Lightfoot said of Alvarez, who leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter.
“That’s not acceptable to me and it shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone.”
The head of the police union, John Catanzara, said the chase stemmed from an incident the day before in which Alvarez fled from police in a vehicle.
The cop involved apparently spotted Alvarez the next day and pursued him on foot.
“There is nothing wrong with this shooting just because the bullet struck the offender from behind,” Catanzara said.
“It is important for the public to look at this with an open mind.” He said the officer saw that Alvarez was holding a gun and believed he was turning around to shoot at him. “The officer fears (he) would turn and fire because that’s the motion he was making,” Catanzara said.
After watching the video, family attorney Todd Pugh said, “I know what I saw … I saw a Chicago police officer shoot their son as he ran away from them.”
Officials haven’t publicly identified the cop who shot Alvarez, but a police report named him as 29-year-old Evan Solano, a six-year veteran of the force.
The incident happened two days before another Chicago cop shot dead 13-year-old Adam Toledo during a foot chase.
COPA, the city’s independent police review board, has recommended that Solano should be stripped of his police powers until its investigation is finished.
The officer in the shooting of Toledo, however, was put on paid administrative leave, as routinely happens after police shootings.
After the shootings, Lightfoot announced that police would implement a foot pursuit policy for officers.
The US Department of Justice four years ago recommended such a policy for Chicago police in its critique of the Windy City’s policing practices.
But the department didn’t institute such a policy after that.
“We look forward to a fair, balanced investigation by COPA and changes that Mayor Lightfoot has promised all of us,” Pugh said.
With Post wires
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