A Chicago man was shot and seriously wounded by an Immigration and Custom Enforcement agent during a raid on a home in the city’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood Monday morning, authorities and the victim’s family say.
The circumstances surrounding the ICE raid remain unclear, but the man who was shot, Felix Torres, 53, was not the target of the operation, DNAInfo Chicago reports.
Torres and his wife are legal permanent residents of the United States. Their children are U.S. citizens. Several other people live in the house, but none of them are undocumented, the family says.
A spokesperson for ICE told the news site that they were trying to arrest another person. who has not been named, at the home when Torres opened the door and was shot.
According to a press release from ICE, Homeland Security Investigations special agents “attempted to make an arrest in Chicago, when a second individual pointed a weapon toward agents. As a result, a special agent discharged his firearm and shot the individual, injuring him.”
Chicago Police told WLS-TV two weapons were found at the scene, but it is not clear who they belong to. But Torres’ family said he doesn’t own a gun and didn’t point a weapon at the agents.
“I don’t know if there was some sort of mistake here or what,” attorney Thomas Hallock, who is representing the family, told the Chicago Tribune. “But it’s all pretty bizarre.”
The Chicago Police Department said in a statement it was not a part of the raid, but has joined the investigation into the shooting incident.
Torres was shot in the arm and remained hospitalized on Tuesday.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Torres Was Shot ‘Without Cause … Immediately Upon Opening the Door to See What the Commotion Was’ Outside His Home, His Attorney Says
Felix Torres was shot during a raid that was launched on his home by ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents about 6:30 a.m. Monday in the 6100 block of West Grand Avenue, the Chicago Police Department said in a statement.
Torres was shot in the arm and was taken to a local hospital, where he remains in serious condition. He has been identified by his family and attorney.
Thomas Hallock, his attorney, told CBS News that Torres heard a pounding at his door, answered it and was shot “without cause.” Hallock said his client was not armed with a gun, disputing police reports he pointed a weapon at the agents.
“He was shot immediately, or almost immediately, upon opening his door to see what the commotion was outside of his residence,” Hallock told reporters Monday, after speaking with his client at a local hospital. He told the Chicago Tribune there were about seven or eight people in the house, including children.
“They’re all citizens. I just don’t know yet why [ICE agents] were involved. We’re still trying to figure out what really was going on here,” he told DNAInfo.
“I don’t know that they had a warrant, but they certainly made forced entry into the house,” Hallock told the newspaper.
Torres’ daughter, Carmen, told DNAInfo she was sleeping in the basement of her home with her husband and their 1-year-old daughter when the ICE agents burst through the front door of the home.
“They didn’t say anything. They just came in and pointed pistols in our faces and dragged us out,” Carmen Torres said. “We didn’t even have time to dress or grab milk for the baby.”
Carmen Torres told the news website, “It’s a lie when they say he was holding a gun He doesn’t even own a gun. They shot my dad. They shot him, and I don’t know why.”
She told NBC Chicago, “My dad doesn’t have any guns, my dad just went to see what’s going on. He just opened the door and they just shot him.”
ICE and Chicago Police have not released any other details about the incident, other than saying Torres pointed a gun at the agent, leading to the shooting.
2. Torres & His Wife Came to America Legally From Mexico & Have Lived in Their Chicago House for About 30 Years, the Family Says
Felix Torres and his wife came to America legally from Mexico several years ago, his daughter, Carmen Torres, told NBC Chicago. Everyone else in the home is either a legal resident or a U.S. citizen, the family and their attorney told reporters on Monday.
“They are all just really good people and they don’t deserve it, what’s happening right now. They don’t deserve any of it,” Mercedes Tavares, a family friend who lives in the home, told ABC 7. “”I feel like they’re picking on us. That’s not cool, cause we don’t do nothing. We’re just around. This is where we live.”
Three children were among the eight people in the home, Carmen Torres told NBC Chicago.
3. ICE Hasn’t Said Who the Target of the Raid Was or Why That Person Was Wanted
ICE and Chicago Police have not yet said who the target of the raid was. According to Chicago Police it was a “federal enforcement initiative” that the department “did not participate in.”
CBS Chicago reports the target of the raid was one of Torres’ sons. His 23-year-old son was briefly detained, but it is not known if he was the man the agents were looking for.
According to ABC 7, the investigation was possibly related to a weapons offense, not anything immigration related.
“Why was, basically, ICE here? What was the reason ICE was here?” Rosa Reyes of Communities United said in an interview with the news station. “If it has to do with a police matter, it has to be the actual police from Belmont-Cragin taking care of the matter, not ICE.”
Thomas Hallock, the Torres’ family attorney, said the 23-year-old son was taken in for questioning and was asked about his citizenship, but not the shooting or “any other crime,” DNAInfo reports.
He was eventually released. The son is facing felony gun possession charges and was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday in that case, the Chicago Tribune reports. But it is not clear if that is related to the ICE raid.
4. A City Alderman Says the ‘Guns Blazing Raid’ on a Home Filled With ‘Sleeping Kids’ Is Why Chicago Shouldn’t Work With ICE
The shooting has led to concern among city officials. Alderman Gilbert Villegas, who represents the 36th Ward, which includes the area where the shooting occurred, said he has questions about the “legitimacy” of the operation, even if the ICE agent “defend himself” from potential danger.
“We’re going to have to talk to CPD to find out if this was a coordinated effort, because if it was in any way, that raises concerns about us as a sanctuary city,” Villegas said in an interview with DNAInfo. “Is this our future in Chicago with Donald Trump as president?”
Villegas said, “The community’s got to be nervous about this, and rightfully so, because you have a right to be in your own home without being intimidated. I’m conflicted because I haven’t got all the details yet, but from the way this has started to play out, it looks like an overstep by an overzealous ICE agent who’s just trying to follow Trump’s orders.”
Another city official, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa said in a statement the shooting shows why Chicago shouldn’t cooperate with ICE.
“My heart goes out to Felix Torres and the eight members of his family terrorized by ICE’s early morning guns blazing raid. ICE’s guns blazing raid on a northwest side home filled with sleeping kids is exactly why the City of Chicago should refuse to collaborate with ICE,” Ramirez-Rosa said in a statement. “ICE routinely violates the American people’s constitutional rights. This guns blazing ICE raid deepens my resolve to organize my community so we can keep each other safe from the threat posed by ICE.”
State Senator Omar Aquino also issued a statement:
I am saddened and disturbed to hear that a man was shot in the arm by ICE agents this morning in Belmont-Cragin. While it is important to wait for all of the facts, stories like these should make everybody nervous about living in Donald Trump’s America. The immigrants that I represent, both documented and undocumented, should be able to contribute to our communities without worrying about government harassment. We must continue to work at the local and state level to protect rights that are under attack at the federal level.
The shooting came in the same week that Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department would cut funding to “sanctuary cities.” The city of Chicago’s council unanimously approved a resolution to renew its status as a sanctuary city last week, meaning local police will not help federal authorities find and deport undocumented immigrants, DNAInfo reports.
Villegas told WGN-TV he doesn’t think it was a coordinated effort by Chicago Police and ICE.
“I think it’s overzealous,” he told the news station. “I think it’s overreaction by the federal government on something as simple as arresting someone on an outstanding warrant.”
5. ICE Has Launched an Internal Investigation & Chicago Police Will Also ‘Investigate the Underlying Criminal Offense’
In a statement, an ICE spokesperson said few details can be released about the incident.
“Any time an ICE officer or special agent discharges their firearm in the line of duty, the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility reviews the matter. Due to the ongoing review, no further details will be released at this time,” the statement said.
City officials said they hope ICE provides some answers about what happened.
“They’re treating our office like we’re nobody, so that tells me that I have to talk to the congressmen and the senators to get some answers on this issue, but this is very alarming,” said Alderman Gilbert Villegas told ABC 7 News.
Chicago Police said in a statement it has joined the probe into the shooting.
“CPD officers did not participate in the federal initiative today, but officers responded quickly to the shooting involving the federal agent,” the statement said. “CPD will investigate the underlying criminal offense and work in collaboration with (the Department of Homeland Security) and the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.”