An off-duty Cook County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a 17-year-old robbery suspect at an Englewood hair salon Wednesday afternoon, officials said. The boy, Rashad Wells, of the 6900 block of South Harvard Avenue, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the medical examiner's office. Two people entered Marquita’s Hair Salon, at 132 W. 69th St., around 1:40 p.m. and announced a robbery, police said. The female off-duty deputy shot one of the robbers and the other one fled, according to Cara Smith, chief policy officer for the sheriff's office.
The deputy was not harmed, Smith said. A woman who identified herself as the mother of the person shot, who would not spell her name, said she believed her son had been at school. "My baby was coming from school. I know he was. I dropped him off this morning. To go to school," she said. "So they shot the wrong person?" A TV reporter asked during a brief interview with relatives who asked media to gather after yelling at police. "I wasn't here," she said.
Relatives said he had been shot 12 times, though it's not clear where they got that information or how they knew it to be true. A number of times, television reporters were interrupted in their live shots by relatives who were yelling. The woman who identified herself as the mother said police wouldn't share information. She had talked with a detective for about 10 minutes within the crime scene, though it was not clear what information the detective provided. After speaking for about a minute to assembled reporters, she declined to answer more questions.
At 4:08 p.m., officers loaded the body, which was in a black bag, into the back of a waiting Chicago Police Department van. Relatives moved to the north end of the intersection of 69th Street and Wentworth Avenue, and the dead boy's mother leaned against a fence and wept.
The department's standard procedure is to wait for a service to pick up and transport the body to the morgue. But officers sometimes use wagons or vans to move bodies to the morgue when they have a hard time keeping a scene secure from relatives or others who wish to get close to the body or when the service can't pick up the body in a timely fashion.
Afterward, relatives yelled at police and reporters — for telling lies, for leaving the body on the ground, for having shot the boy in the first place, for locking up black men but not white men. Police tried to divert traffic around the area, though drivers ignored lights or drove the wrong way in oncoming lanes when no cars were there, so they could get through.
All of 69th was closed from Wentworth east to at least Perry Avenue. Traffic backed up in both directions on Wentworth. CTA buses trying to turn north onto Wentworth from 69th struggled to make the turn because of a parked unmarked squad car. No CTA supervisors appeared to divert the buses, as they normally would when needed around major incidents. The Police Department released a statement, and the sheriff's press office also released a statement. Both declined to make ranking commanders available to speak at the scene, as is customary after police-involved shootings.
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